Time to Wake Up!

Great Egret chicks number two was resting comfortably on his pile of sticks. If you look closely you can see his eye is open, but he wasn’t moving.

Great Egret Chicks
Great Egret Chicks in nest – click photo for larger view

Number one is up and wants the world to know.

Great Egret Chicks
Great Egret Chicks in nest – click photo for larger view

“OK, I’m up. Now what are we going to do?”

Great Egret Chicks
Great Egret Chicks in nest – click photo for larger view

The egret and heron chicks spend weeks in the nest with no where to go and not much to do. When they get older I’ve seen them spar with each other once in awhile. Otherwise, getting fed and growing is their main order of business. Oh, and sleeping.

Great Horned Owl

It’s easy to see why Owls are one of the biggest attractions at the Center for Birds of Prey. Trained to participate in the Center’s Environmental Education programs, they tend to sit calmly on a perch giving a wonderful opportunity to see them up close. This Great Horned Owl, however, was intent on getting on the ground for a few minutes.

Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl – click photo for larger view

His handler waited for him to look around and settle.

Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl – click photo for larger view

After a bit he went back to the perch and showed off with a lovely pose.

Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl – click photo for larger view

The Center for Birds of Prey, Photography Day, April 2017,  Awanda, SC.

 

 

A Yellow Fur Jacket

I don’t know the plant or the insect.  Rather pretty up close, the insect has a furry looking yellow jacket, but is not what I think of as a “Yellow Jacket.” The small flowers are on tall stalks growing in standing water at the edge of a swampy area.

Bee on a Flower
Bee on a Flower – click photo for larger view

The insect must have been getting some nourishment satisfaction or good taste because he kept at it, going round and round the plant.

Bee on a Flower
Bee on a Flower – click photo for larger view

Except for the purple highlights on the leaves, the plant is not particularly attractive to look at. I should go back in a week or so and see what it might have transformed into.

Bee on a Flower
Bee on a Flower showing a shiny “bald” spot between his wings- click photo for larger view

Synchronized Staring

All together now, everybody look to your right.

Great Blue Heron Chicks
Juvenile Great Blue Herons – click photo for larger view

Now split, and hold that position.

Great Blue Heron Chicks
Juvenile  Great Blue Herons  – click photo for larger view

Now everybody look to your left.

Great Blue Heron Chicks
Juvenile  Great Blue Herons – click photo for larger view

The juvenile Great Blue Herons learn the “stare and pose” routine early on. These two occasionally are like synchronized swimmers as they scan the perimeter.

May 17, 2017.

Alligator In The Soup

“Everyone has to eat.” Lots of folks I meet at the swamp say this as we watch nature’s stories unfold, but they don’t want to see the birds be lunch.  Birds that fly low over the Alligators may get snatched, chicks sometimes fall out of the nest or get pushed out by a more aggressive bird, and then there are those that are in the water on purpose, including Ducks and Anhinga.

This Alligator had his sights on an Anhinga that was swimming looking for his own lunch. With the duckweed cover over the water they must search based on their prey’s movement –there can’t be much light getting through.

Alligator Looking for Lunch
Alligator Looking for Lunch – click photo for larger view

He started out with a dash, legs churning the water. Then he plunged, stirring up the duckweed, looking a bit like a pea soup explosion. There is no doubt these creatures can move with speed when they want.

Alligator Looking for Lunch
Alligator Looking for Lunch – chasing Anhinga under water- click photo for larger view

After a lengthy time submerged he popped back up and floated in place. I did not see the Anhinga again, nor any chewing so I’m thinking the bird got away.

Alligator Looking for Lunch
Alligator Looking for Lunch- click photo for larger view

Then a turtle swam by with just his head sticking up and the Alligator followed him to the trunk of this tree. The turtle disappeared around the back of the tree, seemingly unaware of his follower or perhaps incapable of doing anything about it.

Alligator Looking for Lunch
Alligator Looking for Lunch- click photo for larger view

When I left the spot the Alligator had turned to have a view of the nearby tree with multiple Anhinga and Egret nests–just in case.

Alligator Looking for Lunch
Alligator Looking for Lunch – click photo for larger view

5/17/2017

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.