wildlife in the rain

White Ibis, #83

Waking up on our first morning in Georgia I looked out our vacation cottage window and spotted another life bird! It was raining but Tim got these pictures standing on the covered porch. Exciting! After breakfast, Nate & Shea picked us up and off we headed for Jekyll Island. I didn’t want to use my camera in the rain so we took a quick peek at Driftwood Beach and decided to return in a couple of days when the rain would stop.

White Ibises gather in groups in shallow wetlands and estuaries in the southeastern United States. At each step, their bright red legs move through the water and their curved red bill probes the muddy surface below. As adults, these striking wading birds are all white save for their black wingtips, but watch out for young birds that are brown above and white below. White Ibises nest in colonies in trees and shrubs along the water’s edge, changing locations nearly every year.
~ All About Birds website

Then we headed for Horton Pond where there was a covered observation deck, so I could use my camera. You can see all the raindrops hitting the water.

big turtle
my family said I should caption this “the standoff”
black-crowned night-heron hiding from the rain

As we were driving along to our next stop, Nate spotted an armadillo on the side of the road. He stopped so I could get a picture. Tim held an umbrella over me and the camera and I got quite a few shots.

nine-banded armadillo

After that bit of excitement we headed for the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, Georgia’s only sea turtle education and rehabilitation facility. Tim has been a big sea turtle fan since childhood and it was very interesting learning how they’re helping sea turtles injured and traumatized by human activity. One turtle that captivated me had some weights attached to its shell because it had a spinal injury and the weights helped it to stay balanced while it was swimming. I didn’t get any pictures in there but it was indoors and out of the rain.

In the evening we traveled down to Jacksonville, Florida to visit The Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary, which was all outdoors and it was raining non-stop. Their mission is “to provide a safe, loving, forever home for endangered big cats, and to educate the public about their plight in the wild and captivity.” I left my precious camera in the car so it wouldn’t get wet, but got a few pictures with my cell phone.

one of the caregivers with his small cat co-pilot
they were keeping nice and dry

I caught up with Tim who had found a dry bench under a pavilion to sit for a while. He had been watching a female lion named Rosa and told me that from the way she was acting he thought she had a migraine. My first thought was that animals don’t get migraines but then again, how would we know? They have other diseases similar to ours. Tim certainly has plenty of experience observing someone (me) suffering from a migraine.

pretty sure this is one of the Siberian tigers

After about an hour of us wandering around, the caregivers began feeding the big cats, explaining that they hunt at night in the wild and so they are fed at night here. Each cat had its own method of consuming the food offered, chicken and beef. We were told a bit about each of them, what situations they came from and what their personalities were like. While it was sad to see these wild felines behind fences we appreciated this was the best life they could be having after suffering from the ignorance and cruelty inflicted on them by some thoughtless people.

We returned to our cottage, soaked and tired from a very long rainy day! But grateful for all wildlife we were able to see.

23 thoughts on “wildlife in the rain”

  1. What a packed post this is, so much to comment on! I’ll begin with the big cats, which I adore. Then there’s the armadillo – what a great find that was for you!
    We have ibis’s here in Australia and their nickname is “bin chicken”. They are native to Australia, so protected, and they scrounge food from wherever they can find it, including bins, hence the nickname. And unfortunately, they smell like bins too. Your ibis’s look far more pleasant than ours! Shame it rained, but it sounds like enjoyed your day.

    1. I love the big cats, too. Watching them on nature programs is one of my favorite things to see on TV or in the movie theater, ever since I saw “Born Free” when I was a little girl. “African Cats” from Disney was another great movie.
      My daughter-in-law told us that they see white ibises all the time down there, especially when it’s raining. They are looking for insects in the lawn, and do a great job aerating the soil with those long beaks. Seeing them that day was a silver lining to all the rainclouds!

  2. Lots of ‘wild’ wildlife here! Congrats on the Ibis lifer, woot woot!! I have never come across an armadillo and would have been shooting a long series on it myself, great sighting!! “The Standoff” is a perfect caption, I sure hope that turtle was paying attention, he is a quick meal!!

    1. Thank you, Donna!! I was wondering about that turtle’s safety… It’s a wonder he’s grown to such a great size in a pond full of alligators. It was so nice to find the live armadillo. We had just passed one that might have been hit by a car and was being eaten by a vulture. The circle of life…

  3. An adventurous day, glad you didn’t let the rain slow you down. My first thought to the ‘standoff’ was they were practicing social distancing! I guess my brain is still in pandemic mode. 😉
    I remember watching Ibis rooting through the lawn at our Florida rental, it was raining then, too!
    Armadillos seem to ignore people, but they are watching carefully, get too close and they patter off. 🙂

    1. That standoff was definitely reminiscent of a social distancing configuration. It felt a little strange on this trip, eating in crowded restaurants and standing so close to people in lines. I’m amazed we didn’t come down with something. I’m back to wearing my mask in public. I’m so glad we didn’t hunker down inside and got out to see the ibises, armadillos, alligators, herons and big cats in the rain! 🌧️

  4. Looks like we have had a few similar experiences on our vacations. I have not posted about mine just yet, but I too have pictures of ibis, a gator and night herons. I also visited a sanctuary – but for birds. Great pictures! Thanks for sharing.

    1. You’re welcome, Karma, and thank you! I hope you didn’t have rainy days on your cruise. I would love to find a bird sanctuary somewhere to visit. Looking forward to seeing your pictures when you get a chance to post them.

  5. i lived in dallas tx for a few years and saw my fair share of armadillos, but never guessed they’d be as far east as the georgia coast! interesting indeed! loving these vacation pics of yours. ty for sharing!

    1. Thank you, Ren! I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures. Best I can tell from the range maps on the internet armadillos are found in Georgia, too. Apparently their range is expanding, though, and I might start seeing them here in North Carolina one of these days.

  6. What a great time you had Barbara. This post has several critters I’ve never seen, like the armadillo and the ibis. I have seen a fleeting glimpse of a black-crowned heron at Council Point Park of all places. The name of the Wildlife Sanctuary is very clever – you really got up close and personal with the big cats and the pictures are great and your camera didn’t get wet by using your phone.

    A “bus friend” I rode to/from Downtown Detroit with from years ago loved domestic cats – she had one or two and went on her vacation to visit the state of Arkansas and the first or second day she visited “Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge” where they took in the retired “big cats” from circuses, other animal attractions. She never went anywhere else the rest of the week. She helped “walk” the tigers and feed them, clean the stalls – she immersed herself into this place. She met the owner of the refuge who, in speaking with her, learned Pat was an administrative assistant to a CEO at a big bank in Downtown Detroit and was bored with her job. He said he wanted to write a book about his experiences at the Refuge and asked if she could help him write it and also do some administrative work too – they had never had an administrative person. She said “yes”, flew home the next day and gave her notice … she was packed up/moved there a month later. She was divorced and her kids were grown and married. She was very happy. We kept in touch for a while. She built a house at the top of a mountain and recently retired.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed seeing some new critters, Linda. 🙂 I have much better pictures of a black-crowned night-heron in Connecticut, but who could blame this one for hiding his face from the rain? He never once looked up. 🌧️

      What a huge life change your friend had when she visited that big cat sanctuary. It’s sad there is a need for so many of them. It’s wonderful there are people like your friend who feel called to respond to such a great need. I was impressed with how well the caregivers here knew each animal, it’s history, personality, and unique needs. Watching them feed the big cats was pretty moving. You could tell they had a special relationship with each one. It was magical, even in the pouring rain.

      1. Poor birds in the pouring rain – you have to feel for them. Sparrows sit on my back bedroom windowsill in the rain, huddled together, under the patio awning, to stay dry. I can hear them “mumbling” … they don’t really sing.

        Yes, Pat gave the same description as you just did Barbara. She was so impressed with each handler’s special relationship with the big caps, she was enamored and wanted to join them. How nice to do this … that was not like a job to her. Though she is retired, she still goes to Board meetings (last contact I had with her). I am not sure in what capacity, but I think as a Board member.

        1. That’s so sweet that the sparrows have found refuge from the rain on your windowsill under the awning. I bet they’re keeping each other warm, too. And hats off to your friend Pat! This world could use more people with hearts like yours and hers. 💙

          1. Thank you for saying that Barbara. I am generally up early to walk, but I have, on occasion, when they are calling for a storm or rain, I turn off the early alarm. So there they were, right behind my head, twittering amongst themselves and I knew they were on the window ledge as there was nowhere else they could be that close to me. Pat’s job did sound exciting, plus she helped the head of the place write his memoirs which she said was very fun too.

  7. What a predicament that poor turtle found himself at the top of its climb in Horton Pond! I like the title “The Stand Off”. So what did the turtle do?!?

    Happy to see the white ibis as another new life bird for you, Barbara. And love that you stopped to photograph the armadillo. We had them in our yard when I lived in Austin TX.

    Tim humors me with his observation that Rosa had a migraine! Gotta love him for that!!

    1. That turtle never moved for the whole time we were there. Neither did those three alligators, although there were other alligators in the pond surfacing now and then. The night-herons never moved or lifted their heads up, either. I was so glad that Tim brought his huge umbrella to cover me and the camera to get those armadillo shots. It’s funny how what is commonplace to some (like armadillos and ibises) can seem so exotic to others! My daughter-in-law has ibises on her lawn every time it rains.

      1. While I was on the “all about birds” website, I listened to the white ibis. What a honk!!

        When I saw your photos I was not completely sure that I’ve seen these birds. Yes I have! I oil painted them when I was about ten or so. When I see them now, it is usually a large number of them flying overhead. I always notice the black tips on the end of their large wings. They are beautiful in flight. When I lived in the high rise facility, I videotaped them and sent one video to our mutual friend Linda Schaub. I did not see the black tips on your bird photos. I also read that the White Ibis eat bugs too, so that’s why they like her lawn when it rains.

        So glad the turtle got to sun itself and the alligators were taking a siesta!

        1. When the ibises took off I did see the black tips on the end of their wings, but we had already packed up the camera to take along for the day. 🙁

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