Old Shed Transformation

I was intrigued by this old shed on the grounds of Swan Lake Iris Gardens when we visited in early February. The boards and vines made an interesting collage.

Old Shed in February
Old Shed – February 1, 2018

On last week’s visit I was delighted to see the shed covered in trumpet vine and looking somewhat like a Chia Pet, with an elephant trunk.

Shed Covered with Trumpet Vine
Shed Covered with Trumpet Vine -May 21, 2018

I’m not that familiar with Trumpet Vine and don’t know how the blooming process goes. There were just a few blooms fully trumpeting and I wonder if this shed will be covered with blossoms. Trumpet Vine is a favorite of humming birds but I didn’t see any.

Trumpet Vine Closeup
Trumpet Vine Closeup

If you aren’t familiar, “Chia Pets are American styled terracotta figurines used to sprout chia, where the chia sprouts grow within a couple of weeks to resemble the animal’s fur or hair.”
— Wikipedia.
What seemed like a fad, these do-it-yourself kits have been around since the 1970s. Everything from cats and dogs to political figures have been represented. The jingle is now rattling around in my head.

Canada Goose Goslings

A Canada Goose family was  wandering through the edge of the cypress swamp, with the goslings foraging for food under the watchful eyes of their parents.

Canada Goose Gosling
Canada Goose Gosling

It was a cloudy morning and there was a full canopy above us so the  images had a very high ISO. I reduced the noise and clarity which gave the youngsters a soft look that I found appealing.

Canada Goose Goslings
Canada Goose Goslings

They stayed surprisingly close to the boardwalk even as we approached, but before long the adults steered their charges back into the water.

Canada Goose Goslings
Canada Goose Goslings

Click on any image for a larger view.

Insects on Irises

It was a dull day and my images of the Japanese Iris border at Swan Lake and Iris Gardens didn’t amount to much. The insect activity on the iris flowers was much more interesting.

Here a bee is backing out of the flower center after adding to his pollen cache.

Bee on Iris
Bee on Iris

He buzzed around the back of the flower and if you zoom in you can see one tiny leg sticking out from the right side of the stem under the petal stem. I didn’t see the second insect on the petal until I was developing the images.

Insect on Iris
Insect on Iris – click on image to enlarge

A small spider crawled all over the petals of this delacately colored bloom.

Spider on Iris
Spider on Iris

Meanwhile a Skipper was touching all the parts of the next flower over.

Skipper on Iris
Skipper on Iris

This is a section of the Iris border that is on a pond. There is a dragonfly perched  on a frond just left and below center–another one I spotted after I got home. I expect there was more insect activity that wasn’t as obvious.

Dragonfly on Iris
Iris Border with a Dragonfly

Three Disappointed Anhinga Chicks

These three chicks really look like Anhingas now, with the classic black and white “piano key” feathers on their wings.

Three Anhinga Chicks
Three Anhinga Chicks

Like the wading bird chicks in nearby nests these older chicks are spending more time interacting with each other as they wait for the parents to bring food. These three were so busy they didn’t even  notice when one of the parents was on its approach.

Three Anhinga Chicks
Three Anhinga Chicks

Just as well, because she kept right on going.

Three Anhinga Chicks
Three Anhinga Chicks

And going.

Three Anhinga Chicks
Three Anhinga Chicks, mother Anhinga passing by

I don’t know what made her abort her landing, but she circled around the tree for a second try and successful touch down.

 

Three Hungry Egrets

Three Great Egret chicks worked to get food from the parent that has just returned to the nest. The chicks’ pulling on the adult’s beak stimulates regurgitation.

Great Egret with Three Chicks
Great Egret with Three Chicks

This time it didn’t seem to produce anything and the adult’s neck had an odd kink in it…maybe what he just ate wouldn’t come back.

Great Egret with Three Chicks
Great Egret with Three Chicks, watched by younger chick in the nest above

They gave it another try. If there was any food produced it was pretty small. These chicks’ beaks are nearly as big as the adult’s, and look as sharp.

Great Egret with Three Chicks
Great Egret with Three Chicks

The adult flew off leaving the chicks to chew on each other.

Three Great Egret Chicks
Three Great Egret Chicks

Yellow-billed Kite: Posing

First, I need to give a shake.

Yellow-billed Kite
Yellow-billed Kite

Then, get my feathers settled.

Yellow-billed Kite
Yellow-billed Kite

Now I’m ready, wings stretched out, go ahead and take that photo!

Yellow-billed Kite
Yellow-billed Kite

Yellow-billed Kite, Milvus aegyptius

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.

Anole Against the Grain

The texture and color of this Anole made a nice contrast with the tree bark as he posed perpendicularly to the bark grain.

Anole
Anole on a tree

He very considerately made a 90 degree turn to show off the effect of his body with the grain. His tail didn’t completely follow.

Anole
Anole on a tree

This Anole looks a little different than most of them that I have seen with the white stripe down his back and rougher and more speckled skin. Click on either image to get a closer look.

Colorful Caterpillar

This colorful caterpillar stood out from the plain greenery which he was eating, which is how I happened to see him. A mob of Red-winged Black Birds was in the area and I was expecting him to get picked off as I watched.

Caterpillar
Caterpillar

He was methodically consuming the leaf, munching back and forth straight across the top.

Caterpillar
Caterpillar

A wider view shows there was some red foliage nearby, which may have helped camouflage him.

Caterpillar
Caterpillar  – Sony Alpha 6500

4/26/2018 On the dike at Magnolia Plantation & Gardens.

Barred Owl Owlet

A Barred Owl pair with two fledged owlets has been seen regularly from the boardwalk at Beidler Forest. We spotted just this one youngster taking short flights in the limbs above us.

Barred Owl Owlet
Barred Owl Owlet

The owlet was curious about the humans passing on the boardwalk below him, not bothered by our presence. A school group of about twenty-five kids and chaperones had just passed and a few of their stragglers stopped with us to watch the chick.

Barred Owl Owlet
Barred Owl Owlet staring down