Yellow-rumped Warbler

The tree lines around Magnolia Plantation are active with small birds going about their business.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

These Yellow-rumped Warblers have a chirpy song that gives you a hint where to look, but they don’t stay in one place for long and I didn’t get any good shots of the patch of yellow on their rump.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

They seem oblivious to the herons, egrets and other water birds carrying on in the pond just to the edge of these trees.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

This time of year before the trees leaf out is likely the best chance to photograph them.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Magnolia Plantation, Charleston, SC, 02/13/2017.

Great Blue Herons Mating Ritual

The mated pairs spend a lot of time surveying the nest, often adjusting the stick, and making sure they keep their claim. Other Great Blues or Great Egrets would be happy to take over a turn-key home.


Their displays of affection include their feathers ability to defy gravity.

Great Blue Heron Mated Pair

They are awkward birds to begin with and this maneuver requires a lot of flapping.


The ritual continues as the male continues to bring sticks to his mate.

Great Blue Herons Mating Dance

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Magnolia Plantation Audubon Swamp, Valentines Day 2017.

Anhinga Pair Nesting

Busy working on their nest at the end of the day this Anhinga pair was a challenge to photograph due to the low light. I used Dfine 2 to reduce the noise, hoping to keep the wing detail.


The male brought Spanish Moss and branches for nesting materials


Practically condo living,  all this activity is  just below an active Great Blue Heron nest. The GBH neighbors are mostly tolerant, but occasionally sqwak  over the side of their higher perch.

Anhinga Pair Nesting

Magnolia Plantation Audubon Swamp Rookery, 2/13 & 2/14 2017,

Wood Duck

A few Wood Ducks have been around the ponds at Magnolia Gardens over the last month. With the males’ color scheme they are easy to pick out in a crowd of ducks. That and they are usually retreating faster than the rest, having been aware of a human before you spot them.

Wood Duck

This day they were gathered at the far end of the big pond. I waited at an opening in the brush for them to edge their way closer.


Back and forth, I finally got a couple of shots without too much glare on the water.

Great Egret Treetop Landing

The spindly looking branches didn’t look like they would hold this Great Egret.

Great Egret Landing

But at only about 2 pounds according to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the egret stuck the landing very easily.


A few flaps of his wings and balance from the tail and he was set. The breeding plumage adds to the show but doesn’t have much substance to add to flight negotiations.


About ten minutes later he was still there, grooming as the light faded just before sundown.

Great Egret Breeding Plumage

Last Light at the Rookery

The water was still and the reflections sharp as the sun went down.


Birds that had been squabbling an hour before managed to settle in as darkness approached. I’d like to know how much of that goes on after dark, but I’m not sure I’m brave enough to stay.


Another pond with wonderful reflections on the way back to the car.


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