09 Mar 3/9/15 Rookery Update and Early Entry Rules
Nesting season has officially begun! Currently four pairs of Roseate spoonbills are nest building. A few things happen before spoonbills get ready raise their families. The first step is a plumage change. They molt out of their old drab feathers into some fancy bright new ones. Look for bright pinkish-orange highlights on the rump and wings. With a dapper new look, they’re ready to find a mate. The male will court the female by bobbing his head towards her and offering sticks and other building materials for their nest.
Photo by Olis Garber
Roseate spoonbills may have been the first pair to show up this year, but they aren’t alone! Dozens of Great egret pairs have arrived to claim prime nesting sites, with a few Wood storks pairs beginning to nest build. The egrets also go through a plumage change in preparation for the breeding season. Long flowing plumes extend from their back and the lores take on a greenish color.
Photo by Maxis Gamez
Photographers who have purchased a photo pass will enjoy the benefits of extended hours, including early entry at 8:00 am, to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park rookery during the vibrant wading bird breeding season.
Annual Photo Pass: $89.95 – Includes full season early entry and late exit (until sunset – weather dependent) as well as submission fees for up to 5 photos in our annual photo contest.
2-Day Photo Pass: $64.95 – Includes early entry and late exit (until sunset – weather dependent) for two consecutive days as well as submission fees for up to 3 photos in our annual photo contest.
Here are a few important rules to keep in mind:
For early entry (8:00 a.m.) to the park, you must present both your Photo Pass and a valid photo ID.
An Alligator Farm employee will be at the red gate at 8:00 a.m. to check passes and IDs and to allow entry into the park. (If you have not yet purchased a Photo Pass, you may enter early by providing a credit card and drivers’ license to the Alligator Farm employee. You may then pick up your Photo Pass and card in the gift shop after 9:00 a.m.)
If you are running late and have missed early entry, you may ask an available Alligator Farm employee about the possibility of entry before 9:00 a.m. if the employee is near the gate. You may not however, enter through any other gates. If there are no employees near the gate, it is possible that you will have to wait until 9:00 a.m. and enter through the front door if you miss the 8:00 a.m. entry.
Early entry is for the rookery only. The rest of the park is not open until 9:00 a.m.
Please make sure you have everything you need when you enter the park. You may not return to your vehicle until the rest of the park is open.
Please keep in mind that the Alligator Farm staff still has work to do in the rookery. They will need to hose the boardwalk and use blowers to clear leaves. Please make sure you give them room to work.
We hope you enjoy the time you spend photographing the birds and animals in our park! Please let us know if there is anything that we can do for you.