Mama Wood Duck and her brood posed for a family portrait on one of the new alligator ramps installed around the rice field. I counted fourteen chicks while they were sitting still, but some were snoozing with their heads down so there may have been more. All About Birdssays their clutch can have up to sixteen eggs.
A Common Gallinule was doing his best to photo bomb the portrait, paddling along behind them. I waited, hoping he would move along.
He did, but Mama felt it was time to move on, too, and they all bailed off in one fluid motion off the side of the ramp away from me.
The Eurasian Kestrel is widespread in Europe, Asia, and Africa. They are small compared with other birds of prey, but larger than most songbirds. The females are slightly larger then the male, weighing in at 6.5 ounces (184 grams) on average.
In the full side view shows off the brown and black coloration of the wings, useful as camouflage.
The sun was warming us up after a chilly start and the Kestrel seemed quite content to puff up a bit and enjoy the sun.
Eurasian Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus
The Center for Birds of Prey offers photographers an opportunity to take close-up photographs of owls and other birds of prey a few times a year.
The Center for Birds of Prey, Photography Day, April 22, 2018, Awanda, SC.
The Harris’s Hawk can be found in the southwestern United States, through arid regions of Central America and South America. They are one of a few birds of prey known to hunt cooperatively.
This Harris’s Hawk was one of the birds that flew as part of the photography day presentation. It was fascinating to watch but my images weren’t great. I’ve included this one to show his beautiful brown and red colors.
Not surprisingly the nest that had four Great Blue Heron chicks now only has three. I don’t know what happened to the fourth; he might have fallen or the other three might have driven him over the edge as they competed for food.
The three that are left have gotten quite active, spending some of their awake time chewing on each other.
They also practice “wingercising,” working their wings before they take their first flights.