A Raptor

Small Coopers Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, or maybe a Merlin? Hanging out where a forested area meets an agricultural field, any of them could be at home here.

Small Raptor
Small Raptor

The features that CornellLab’s All About Birds uses to distinguish the Merlin from the Sharp-shinned Hawk require flight or at least other angles. The Sharp-shinned Hawk has short, rounded wings and  a very long tail. The Merlin has sharply pointed wings, a broad chest, and a medium length tail. Then there are the sex and age variations to confuse the ID.

Small Raptor
Small Raptor

It may come down to the “bluntness” of the face: the Merlin, a falcon, has a blunt face and the hawks are more pointy.

Small Raptor
Small Raptor

This fellow stayed put even after I took his photo and had moved on.

The Nest Tree

You’ve seen this tree before, its a nesting spot for Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets. I’ve photographed nest building, chicks growing up and territorial spats here.

Late yesterday afternoon a King Fisher used the center trunk between dives.

King Fisher
King Fisher

When the King Fisher was gone an Ibis and juvenile Little Blue Heron used it for a resting spot, mutually ignoring each other.

Ibis and Little Blue Heron
Ibis and Little Blue Heron

The top nest area was surprisingly intact after our recent storms. The lower area where the Great Egrets nested suffered some damage, but come spring they may fix it up.

Ibis and Little Blue Heron
Ibis and Little Blue Heron

Early Morning Walk

These three Wood Storks were just standing around in the shallow end of the pond.

Wood Stork Walk
Wood Stork Walk

Two decided to relocate on foot, further away of course. They weren’t moving fast but it was less than a minute before they were beyond camera range.

Wood Stork Walk
Wood Stork Walk

A Little Blue Heron tagged along. The smaller birds often follow the larger ones, hoping to share good feeding spots.

Wood Stork Walk
Wood Stork Walk with a Little Blue Heron

Click any photo for larger view.

Memory Lane

This is a scene I passed thousands of times in my first twenty years. Did I realize then how beautiful it is?

River Reflections
River Reflections – click image for larger view

On a visit in August we passed by just before dark when the water was still and the sky was brooding.

River Reflections
River Reflections – click image for larger view

The scene has changed a little but the dam and the train trestle are intact.

River Reflections
River Reflections – click image for larger view

Sebec River, Milo, Maine

 

Warbler

I always have my eye out for the small birds, watching for darting  movements through the trees and undergrowth. This summer they were elusive, always hidden by leaves or behind a limb.

Warbler
Warbler

Now at the end of September the grasses and brush have started to thin and drop back making a shot more attainable.

Warbler
Warbler

This Warbler lit on a beautiful muted scene just as I was glanced that way. His coloration doesn’t quite match the samples on the identification resources.

Warbler
Warbler

Alligator Parade

One by one and without a sound or a ripple of the water these three Alligators swam out from a side canal into the main one that circles the old rice field.

Alligators
Alligators

And then there were four.

Alligators
Alligators

A sepia treatment makes the scene a little more creepy. Not sure of their intended direction we moved back down the dike towards the road so we wouldn’t get cut off if they came ashore.

Alligators
Alligators

Click any photo for larger view.

Perfect Landing

Circling at low altitude, the Wood Stork loops several times looking for the perfect spot to drop down.

Wood Stork Landing
Wood Stork Landing

Found it! In this marsh of reeds and canals it was nice of him to pick a spot where I could see the ground.

Wood Stork Landing
Wood Stork Landing

Pay no attention to others in the landing zone.

Wood Stork Landing
Wood Stork Landing, using his tail for balance

Nailed it! A little ruffle and show off of the green wing tips and he was down.

Wood Stork Landing
Wood Stork Landing

The Snowy Egret never turned his head.

Click on photos for larger view.

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Out in open, this juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron seemed undecided about his next move. During the day it is more common to see them tucked at a pond or stream shoreline, or in a tree. Perhaps risky for him but it made a nice photograph for me.

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Human presence or maybe an alligator swimming by urged him to go. He landed in some trees across the pond. I could still see him but he was in a more protected spot.

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Barred Owl Watching Me

We often walk around a path where a pair of Barred Owls has been seen regularly since the spring. This was the first time I saw them both. The Owl below was quietly watching us while we photographed his mate in a tree on the other side of the path.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl- click image for larger view

I had stepped aside to let another photographer get a view of the first Owl and was surprised to see and get better shots of Owl number two. There were lots of branches preventing a wider shot but he was closer and the light was a little better. He didn’t stay long and after this over-the-shoulder glance he swooped further out into the trees.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl – click image for larger view

Wood Storks

I startled a few of these Wood Storks, which then startled me, when I walked under a tree where they were perched. They took off then settled in on the other side of a small pond.

Wood Stork
Wood Stork – click photo for larger veiw

The path through this sanctuary led underneath the new tree. Knowing they were there I approached slowly and got some nice shots from below.

Wood Stork
Wood Stork – click photo for larger veiw

The pine tree made a  much better backdrop than the usual mud we see them wading in.

Wood Stork
Wood Stork – click photo for larger veiw

Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site, Charleston, SC.