Swallowtail Butterfly Brightens a Dull Day

We’ve had a run of dull days, no sun and lots of rain. There was a gap in the storms this morning and we took the opportunity to get out even though conditions weren’t optimal. This Swallowtail Butterfly posed for some low light shots.

Swallowtail Butterfly
Swallowtail Butterfly – click photo for larger view

He very nicely turned around the flower exposing his underside to the camera.

Swallowtail Butterfly
Swallowtail Butterfly – click photo for larger view

And kept on turning for a nice side view of his proboscis at work.

Swallowtail Butterfly
Swallowtail Butterfly – click photo for larger view

The rain started again shortly after bringing an end to this meal.

Great Egret Chick Trio

The Great Egret chicks in the top of the three nests in this tree are becoming more mobile and easier to photograph as they stand up to check mom/dad for food. The other adult in the lower left is standing on her own nest on the next level down, where so far i have not seen chicks.

Three Great Egret Chicks in Nest
Three Great Egret Chicks in Nest , Another Adult Below – Click photo for larger view

The food is gone but the chicks’ beaks keep on moving. They maneuver to the edge of the nest, precariously close it appears from my vantage point. I likely made the same comment about the Great Blue Heron chicks. I’ve never seen an adult Great Egret or Great Blue Heron perform any type of protective move to get a chick away from the edge.

Three Great Egret Chicks in Nest
Three Great Egret Chicks in Nest with Adult – Click photo for larger view

The adult looks ready to fly off and get a break from the little ones.

Three Great Egret Chicks in Nest
Adult and Three Great Egret Chicks in Nest  – Click photo for larger view

Pelican: Master of the Glide

Quietly and without any fuss Pelicans glide around the edges of the harbor. Generally moving at a slow speed, the shot is all about the angle.

Coming straight at me, this pair turned together like a pair of dancers.

Pelican Gliding Over Charleston Harbor
Pelican Pair Gliding Over Charleston Harbor – click photo for larger view

They veered off at the last moment, following the shape of the USS Yorktown and staying over the water. I was at the edge of the flight deck where the deck becomes wider.

Pelican Pair Gliding Alongside the USS Yorktown
Pelican Pair Gliding Alongside the USS Yorktown – click photo for larger view

This single Pelican was also following the edge of the Yorktown, a little higher off the water, with the  Charleston Peninsula as his backdrop.

Pelican Gliding Over Charleston Harbor
Pelican Gliding Over Charleston Harbor – Along Side of USS Yorktown – click photo for larger view

The Pelican’s large wingspan makes a shot against the sky work. The feather and chest detail show off nicely as he passed over me with just a tilt to alter his direction.

Pelican Gliding Over Charleston Harbor
Pelican Gliding, Feet Perfectly Tucked – click photo for larger view

Taken three days in May, 2017.

Will It Fit?

I always take a breath when I see cargo ships pass under the bridges around Charleston. The prospect of not fitting is an optical illusion at certain distances from the bridge.

Loaded Cargo Ship Leaving Port
Loaded Cargo Ship Leaving Port -click photo for larger view

MSC Karlskrona loaded and leaving port, has passed under the Ravenel Bridge on a gorgeous spring day. The SPA Wando Welch Terminal is visible in the left background.

Charleston, SC 05/05/2017.

Flight! Or “I Can’t Believe I Missed It”

I was standing right there in my usual spot. Both Great Blue Heron chicks were in the nest.  I took a few shots of the chick pair and even commented that maybe today was the day for flight.

Great Blue Heron Chick
Great Blue Heron Chick

I looked away to see what a nearby Alligator was doing and it was over. Probably not his first flight, but still.

Great Blue Heron Chick
Great Blue Heron Chick

The chick landed in the trees on the long side of the pond and stood there. And stood there. After about 15 minutes he flew. I missed the take off and couldn’t get a shot in flight. He moved around a couple more times and I decided not to wait any longer and moved along.

From a spot not far from where he first landed I did see him return to the nest. His sibling, who still has shown no interest in flying, gave an affectionate wing greeting.

Great Blue Heron Chick
Great Blue Heron Chick

Too far for crisp shots but I was still happy to see the Great Blue Heron’s next life stage. And I know know that they do return to their nest after fledging, at least for one day.

Great Blue Heron Chicks
Great Blue Heron Chicks

He seemed quite happy with his new found skill, flapping and hopping from one edge of the tree to the other.

Great Blue Heron Chick
Great Blue Heron Chick

He kept this up for 10 or 15 minutes, then settled down next to his sibling, resting for his next excursion and probably hoping for a snack to appear. In the three hours we were in the area no GBH adult appeared at this nest.

Charleston, SC 05/14/2017

Birds on the USS Yorktown (CV-10)

The USS Yorktown (CV-10) is covered with attractive nooks and crannies if you are a bird. This includes the twelve historic aircraft on display on the flight deck.

Grackle Sitting on Helicopter
Grackle Sitting on Helicopter – click photo for larger view

Grackles were particularly abundant this week, using all openings for their homes.

Grackle Nesting in Aircraft
Grackle Nesting in Aircraft – click photo for larger view

An Osprey nest is perched in the tower. I hope it is a little sturdier than it appears here, at the top of the ladder.

Osprey Nest in Top of USS Yorktown – click photo for larger view

A small flock of House Finches was perching off the edges of the flight deck on safety netting. I wasn’t able to see where they might be nesting as they zipped back and forth, somewhere below the edge of the deck.

House Finches hanging off USS Yorktown
House Finches hanging off USS Yorktown – click photo for larger view

The USS Yorktown (CV-10) is the centerpiece of Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, Mount Pleasant, SC. Towed to this spot in 1975 the Yorktown itself is a museum and additionally houses a number of exhibits associated with its history dating back to World War II.

Dolphin Frenzy

A big splash got our attention as we were leaving the USS Yorktown at the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum this afternoon. I thought it might be an Alligator, then saw a high splash of water.

Dolphin Feeding
Dolphin Making Big Splash – click photo for larger view

The dolphin made his way up and down the stretch of water that sits between the museum boats and the shore, splashing as he went. Fortunately for me there is a dock that runs parallel to the shore and away I went to follow the unfolding drama.

Dolphin Feeding
Dolphin Feeding – click photo for larger view

A large fish started jumping out of the water trying to stay ahead of the dolphin.

Dolphin Feeding
Fish Trying to Out Jump Dolphin Feeding – click photo for larger view

He got caught!

Dolphin Feeding
Dolphin Caught the Fish- click photo for larger view

Then got away!

Dolphin Feeding
Dolphin Feeding – the One That Got Away- click photo for larger view

Undeterred, the dolphin tried again while a Snowy Egret decided to relocate further from the action.

Dolphin Feeding
Dolphin Splashing Water Over Snowy Egret- click photo for larger view

The volume of water and waves the dolphin splashed up was incredible to watch.

Dolphin Feeding
Dolphin Making Big Splash – click photo for larger view

Delicate Diner

After picking this treasure directly off the tree with a resounding “snap” the squirrel settled in and delicately ate it. He slowly turned and savored the nut/seed showing off some pretty serious claws.

Squirrel Eating
Squirrel Eating – click photo for larger view

It was surprising to see him so still for so long as most squirrels I see are running and jumping around in a chaotic way. What nature photographer hasn’t had a fright when a squirrel suddenly careened across their path?

Squirrel Eating
Squirrel Eating