The new year took the artists of TMaxPhoto to Central Florida’s Gatorland for the beginning of what we hope will be an eventful season. For those unfamiliar: many species of wild wading birds reside at Gatorland because the gators not only do not bother them, but keep ground predators away. Roseate spoonbills, cattle egrets, great egrets, green herons, tri-colored herons, little blue herons, the endangered woodstork, great blue herons, and more can be found making their homes throughout the Gatorland Zoo. The birder will also commonly find: osprey, turkey vultures, black vultures, and anhingas year round. During Spring and early Summer the numbers dramatically increase as many of their birds pair up and make their homes here.
Since there has seemingly been a lack of winter here in Central Florida, I suspected the birds may be starting their annual rituals early: I was right. On January 2, we were pleased to discover many of the above mentioned birds already pairing up and even constructing nests. They were acting more territorial than usual and I expect babies will be along shortly! We will certainly be back and I will hopefully have baby pictures to share in the not-too-distant future.
In the mean time, here is a look at an experience I found to be worth mentioning.
 Rapport_Two
This beautiful great egret landed nearby while we had a seat in the middle of the bird observation area. I approached him slowly, talking to him as if he were a person (I tend to do this). When he didn’t seem to mind I would, feeling encouraged, move in a bit closer, singing his praises & asking him about his day all the while. He seemed at ease with me which is why I was able to capture him so beautifully.  With the camera on fully manual settings, I took my time and shot him from various angles.
Rapport
When other people would approach -whether the loan passerby or in large groups he would become uneasy and move around, never taking his eye off them. He continued to not be bothered by me though. This was a great experience and as a result of our mutual respect and acceptance I came to name the pictures of him Rapport.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them!
More of my work and the rest of the result from this photo shoot can of course be found at: www.tmaxphoto.net  .
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