Wood Stork Frenzy

We could see a few Wood Storks dropping down in a marsh just off the road. What luck, room to pull off the road and a clear view down this open area to a chaotic scene of feeding Wood Storks with a few smaller wading birds joined in.

Wood Stork
Wood Stork Feeding Frenzy – click photo for larger view

The group was in constant motion and some took off for greener pastures, well beyond where we could see.

Wood Stork
Wood Stork Feeding Frenzy – click photo for larger view

A few managed to sneak off on their own, busily working the water.

Wood Stork
Wood Stork  – click photo for larger view

The rest just kept moving further down this outlet.

Wood Stork
Wood Stork Frenzy – click photo for larger view

Timing is everything. When we passed back by this area an hour later there wasn’t a bird in sight.

Barred Owl Gets Lunch

Barred Owl watches the water below.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl Perched in Tree – click on image for larger view

With little warning the Owl swoops from the branch to the water.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl drops out of tree – click on image for larger view

After a small splash around at the base of the tree the Owl emerges…

Barred Owl
Barred Owl – click on image for larger view

Yes, he was successful! A fresh water shrimp or some type of crayfish was firmly clasped in the Owl’s beak.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl with lunch – click on image for larger view

The Owl flew to a safer spot, transferring his catch to his claw, and in no time he had consumed it.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl securely holding his catch – click on image for larger view

Foot Loose Little Blue Herons

The juvenile Little Blue Heron are more mobile, but most of them still weren’t flying on this day about a week ago. They are venturing further away from their nests and their feet were in full view.

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron

As I developed these photographs I noticed how many ways they use those feet, often digging their nails in for support or to climb a branch.

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron

Head on shots of birds rarely look like much, but in this one the Little Blue’s feet are nicely lined up and show off how long his nails are.

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron

They don’t need a very big branch to hang on to.

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron

As we were leaving the rookery this adult Little Blue landed above us giving another foot view.

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron

Golden Silk Orb-weaver Spider

We had been told by many locals last summer when we first started visiting the swamp that the Orb, aka Banana, Spiders were nothing to worry about. They seldom make their web across the trail and don’t jump onto humans. Sure enough, their season passed without incident, but I still don’t like to get too close.

This year’s batch is now very active building webs and it was interesting watching this female spinning her silk.

Golden Orb Spider
Golden Orb Spider weaving her web – click photo for larger view

Back and forth, hanging upside down and pulling herself along very methodically, she added a new row to the top of this web.

Golden Orb Spider
Golden Orb Spider weaving her web – click photo for larger view

The strands appeared to be different colors as the web swayed in the light.

Golden Orb Spider
Golden Orb Spider weaving her web – click photo for larger view

In another web down the trail the smaller male and the female may have been getting ready to mate. The female eats the male when she is done with him. I didn’t stay to watch.

Golden Orb Spider
Golden Orb Spiders – click photo for larger view

Barred Owl

This Barred Owl was looking over a small pond in a grove of trees that let very little light through.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl – click photo for larger view

He was more concerned with watching for movement in the water and on the small island than with humans passing by.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl – click photo for larger view

The Owl moved from tree to tree, patiently looking for a meal. Unfortunately the space was too tight to get an in flight shot.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl – click photo for larger view

Checking out the water below with a twist of his head, the Owl’s giant feet were on display.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl – click photo for larger view

B-29 Superfortress FIFI

The Boeing B-29 Superfortress saw active military duty from 1944 through the late 1950s.  “FIFI” was acquired by the Commemorative Air Force in the early 1970s and after extensive restoration travels across the US for air events and to share a piece of history.

Commemorative Air Force Fifi
Commemorative Air Force’s FIFI in Charleston – click image for larger view

FIFI flew into Charleston, SC this week where she is on display for tours and rides are available for the brave. I’ll be staying on the ground!

Commemorative Air Force Fifi
B-29 FIFI’s nose – click image for larger view

The most well known B-29s were the ones outfitted to drop atomic bombs at the end of World War II, including the Enola Gay.

Commemorative Air Force Fifi
Commemorative Air Force FIFI- click image for larger view

The size of this airplane’s parts is impressive. I was standing fully upright below one of the propellers for this shot:

Commemorative Air Force Fifi
B-29 Propeller – click image for larger view

After several days of rain we were also treated to some blue sky today, adding to the B-29’s presentation. You can see the feet of folks waiting their turn to climb up into the cockpit area in the shot below.

Commemorative Air Force Fifi
Commemorative Air Force FIFI, B-29 – click image for larger view

“The CAF was founded to acquire, restore and preserve in flying condition a complete collection of combat aircraft which were flown by all military services of the United States, and selected aircraft of other nations, for the education and enjoyment of present and future generations of Americans.”

http://commemorativeairforce.org

Little Blue Heron Chicks Exploring

After being away for a week we visited the swamp our first day back. The Heron and Egret chicks grow so fast I was eager to see what had changed and who might have moved on.

Little Blue Heron Chick
Little Blue Heron Chicks

In the Little Blue Heron rookery the chicks had gone from the protection of their nests on the interior of the island to exploring nearby branches.

Little Blue Heron Chick
Little Blue Heron Chick Over the Water

The chick above was in a risky spot out over the pond where an alligator could jump up and snatch him.  The chick’s flying skills aren’t established yet so just lifting up may not be an option.

Little Blue Heron Chick
Little Blue Heron Chick

The Little Blue Heron chicks seem to have more interest in their surroundings than the Great Blue Herons we have watched at the same age.

Little Blue Heron Chick
Little Blue Heron Chick Looking Around

An intense thunder storm moved in so we did not make it to the rookery to check on the Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons on this day.

Flag Day

Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the United States on June 14, 1777. Various local and state celebrations of the anniversary date back to at least 1885 and National Flag Day was adopted in 1949.

Flag of the United States at the USS Yorktown (CV-10)
Flag of the United States  leading to the USS Yorktown (CV-10) – click on photo for larger view

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum proudly displays the US Flag every day.

Flag of the United States
Flags of the United States lining the walkway to the USS Yorktown (CV-10)- click on photo for larger view

This banner serves as an additional patriotic reminder as you approach the aircraft carrier.

I Pledge Allegiance
“I Pledge Allegiance”  – click on photo for larger view

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, Mount Pleasant, SC.