Splish Splash Mallards

Mallards doing the Mallard bath in a pond, as can be seen throughout most of the United Sates and Canada. We rarely see Mallards in the other ponds we visit, but Magnolia Cemetery is more of an urban location where you would expect them to congregate.

Male Mallard Bathing
Male Mallard Bathing

The sun was perfect on this early February afternoon and the Mallards were enjoying an unseasonably warm day.

Female Mallard Bathing
Female Mallard bathing flanked by two males

After bathing they had a dead tree trunk to perch on, out of the water and with a good view of potential hazards. This pond does host a few Alligators, I have seen fox on the cemetery grounds, and a few Red-shouldered Hawks could be heard nearby.

Mallard Trio on Log
Mallard Trio on Log

Click any image for larger view.

Hooded Merganser Pair

The same pair of Hooded Mergansers as yesterday’s post had places to go as they were out for a swim around one of Magnolia Cemetery’s ponds. The male gradually caught up to the female as they passed this group of Mallards on the edge of a small island.

Hooded Merganser Pair
Hooded Merganser Pair

The Mergansers weren’t in such a hurry that they chose to fly, but they didn’t divert even as the Mallards  went about their preening and flapping.

Hooded Merganser Pair
Hooded Merganser Pair

The Mergansers continued on their way, the female in the lead, headed out into the middle of the pond.

Hooded Merganser Pair
Hooded Merganser Pair

Spanish Moss Draped Perch

This tree at Charleston’s Magnolia Cemetery has a huge amount of Spanish Moss draping through its branches. Several of the limbs  hang out over a pond which make it a select spot for a Great Egret.

Spanish Moss Draped Perch for Great Egret
Spanish Moss Draped Perch for Great Egret – click image for larger view

The Egret spent some time grooming then settled to enjoy the sun.

Spanish Moss Draped Perch for Great Egret
Spanish Moss Draped Perch for Great Egret – click image for larger view

Hooded Mergansers

The Hooded Mergansers tend to be shy and I usually see them retreating shortly after I spot them. I happened to be sitting on a low wall watching a pond when these two swam by me, close enough to get a shot.

Hooded Merganser Female
Hooded Merganser Female – click image for larger view

The brown reeds and grasses of late winter made a golden glow on the water, a nice complement to these gorgeous ducks. The male is certainly flashier, especially when he has his hood up, but the female is an understated beauty.

Hooded Merganser Male
Hooded Merganser Male – click image for larger view

2/5/2018

Night-Heron Juveniles

The juvenile Night-Herons were more active on this morning in the rookery than the snoozing adults. 

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Juvenile Night-Heron

A few of them were wandering around on these gnarly tree branches in the dappled sun.

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Juvenile Night-Heron

A comparison of the juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron and juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron at All About Birds finds they are quite similar, with the Black-crowned variety having “larger spots and bolder streaks.” Hard to tell unless you have one of each side-by-side.

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Juvenile Night-Heron

1/30/2018, St. Augustine Alligator Farm, St. Augustine, Florida.

Red-bellied Woodpecker Looking for Lunch

Looking for something to eat in the crevices of this dead branch this Red-bellied Woodpecker kept trying, but I didn’t see him find anything.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

Upside down didn’t work so he flipped upright.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

He paused for a nice profile shot.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

Scouting out his next spot, he was gone in a flash.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

Click on any photo for larger view.

Yellow-crowned Night Heron

Several Yellow-crowned Night-Herons were scattered around the rookery soaking up the morning sun. This one was tucked in the fronds of a palm tree showing off his blue/grey feathers..

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

The back of this rookery property has a double fence to contain the alligators and this Heron took his spot on the inner layer where the vines were still dormant in late January. The brown layer behind the bird is the second fence, also covered with brown vines.

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

Known for sleeping during the day, these Herons stayed put for the few hours I was in the area, despite the cacophony of the other birds sharing the rookery.

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

1/30/2018, St. Augustine Alligator Farm, St. Augustine, Florida.