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Spoonbill Gossip

Spoonbill GossipSpoonbill Gossip is one of my favorite images.  These Roseate Spoonbills were part of a larger group photographed at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters Unit in September 2011.  I had occasionally seen spoonbills flying overhead at Headquarters Unit, but this was the first time I had seen even one, let alone nearly a dozen, on the ground.  If it weren’t for a birder’s tip, I probably would not have walked all the way down to the Chocolate Trail.  Last summer the heat was miserable and even towards the end of September, when this image was taken, I was spending more time down at Bayou Pierre in the early weekend morning hours in search of sparrows and shorebirds.
But on this day, the long hike paid off.  I counted 11 beautiful pink birds feeding near the trail.  The lake water level was down, so the birds had plenty of space away from the trail to search for food.  They seemed more interested in feeding than in noticing me slipping quietly by them and finding a suitable spot to set down the big Canon and tripod.  I was able to take quite a few images, but Spoonbill Gossip is a favorite.
The bird on the right seems to be telling the biggest whopper.  The two birds next to it are listening intently.  The bird on the far left is pretending to not be listening. The bird with the super long neck (did you even notice?) (actually two birds) is trying not to be seen listening.
Spoonbill Gossip is one of over two dozen images to be featured in a photo exhibit at the Magale Library, Centenary College, Shreveport, Louisiana from June 1st throughout the summer months during regular library hours.  The exhibit is sponsored by the Friends of Red River National Wildlife Refuge, a non-profit support group that is dedicated to helping the Refuge through such endeavors as this photo exhibit.
The public is invited to visit the photo exhibit and get a taste of what may be found on the Refuge.  More importantly, take some time and visit the Refuge, located near the Jimmie Davis bridge on the Bossier City side.  Just take Sunflower Road to the rock road entrance to the Refuge and follow the signs the brand new multi-million dollar Visitor Center.  There is a short boardwalk leading to the scenic oxbow Lake Caroline.  Headquarters Unit has 650 acres just waiting to be explored.  Over 5 miles of trails, plus the main service road, plus the levee is available for, among other things, hiking, bike riding, birding or nature photography.

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