Nesting Season Winding Down

The Great Blue Herons have all fledged and have mostly left the rookery area. A few later starting Great Egrets chicks are still around, but they have grown to almost adult size and won’t be around much longer.

This pair looks a little goofy as they look around on a hot day.

Great Egret Chicks
Great Egret chick pair breathing heavy in the heat

Some of the Great Egret chicks are showing a lot of interest in the world beyond their nest and they have spread out into the space vacated by the Great Blue Heron chick.

Tree Full of Great Egret Chicks
Tree Full of Great Egret chicks

Butterfly

This butterfly was flitting along the trail, first ahead of me then behind me, not quite landing in a pose that I was hoping for.

Butterfly
Butterfly

I finally got his full open wings showing off the shimmery blue and then just a peek of the underside. There was a pretty stiff breeze blowing when he landed on this leaf and he was fighting to stay put.

Butterfly
Butterfly

Here’s The Catch: Predator and Prey

Blogger Liz, author of New Zealand based Exploring Colour, has collected a group of “Predator and Prey” posts from photography blogs that she follows. Check out these fascinating images and stories of the world around us that I and fellow photographers have documented.

Exploring Colour

The reality of the natural world is that some creatures eat other creatures to survive. Nature photographers spend a lot of time outside and sometimes capture dramatic moments in the struggle for survival. Their photos and stories may shock us but we can learn so much from these encounters – animals seem capable of much more planning, strategy and applied knowledge than what most of us humans ever give them credit for.


** Click on any photo to view large-size version **

Note: Each photographer’s website/blog is listed at the bottom of this blog-post.


snake2_fish_blog

Mike Powell | Snake catches catfish | 20 July, 2017

  • Story plus 5 Photos showing the snake in various positions holding his catch, all the time in the water, until all of a sudden the snake somehow ingests the large fish and the last photo shows the snake with only the fish tail sticking out of…

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Orchard Oriole Parents

In the three weeks since I photographed an Orchard Oriole working on her nest I’ve passed by the tree several times and seen no activity. On Sunday a male was sitting on branches about 30 feet from the nest.

Male Orchard Oriole with Grasshopper
Male Orchard Oriole with Grasshopper

After carefully watching the area he zipped into the nest with the grasshopper. You can just see one wing and a tail hanging out the entrance.

Male Orchard Oriole Going into Nest
Male Orchard Oriole Going into Nest

The nest was swinging back and forth in a light breeze and the male made a quick exit.

Orchard Oriole Nest
Orchard Oriole Nest

My question, was the male feeding his mate while she sat on eggs or chicks, was soon answered when the female appeared with another grasshopper.

Female Orchard Oriole with Grasshopper
Female Orchard Oriole with Grasshopper

The female was coming in at a different angle and had to pause to get into the nest.

Female Orchard Oriole with Grasshopper
Female Orchard Oriole with Grasshopper

After delivering the snack she came out with a fecal sac and disappeared into the woods.

Female Orchard Oriole Removing Fecal Sac
Female Orchard Oriole Removing Fecal Sac

Three Wood Duck Ducklings

A mother Wood Duck usually stays with her ducklings until they are grown to near adult size, the “teen age” stage. The males are sometimes around but don’t seem to supervise the young the way I’ve seen the females herd their charges around.

Three Wood Duck Ducklings
Three Wood Duck Ducklings

No adult was in sight for these three ducklings and I suspect the mother became lunch for a predator. The survival rate for the ducklings is low and the adults can fall victim to alligators, hawks, or eagles. These three were sticking together, swimming around the pond to various perches.  As plant eaters these ducklings don’t rely on the parent bringing food, they just eat what is around them.

Three Wood Duck Ducklings
Three Wood Duck Ducklings

This board they are settled on is an Alligator ramp that has been slowly sinking into the pond over the last year.

Three Wood Duck Ducklings
Three Wood Duck Ducklings

The surface of the pond is covered with a mixture of green Duck Weed  and some variation of Mosquito Fern, the red plant. Zoom in on the closer image of the dragonfly perched on the surface to see the plants in more detail.

Dragonfly on Duck Weed and Mosquito Fern
Dragonfly on Duck Weed and Mosquito Fern

Two Ponds, Two Alligators, Different Light

These two Alligators were swimming in different ponds, taken about an hour apart on a recent June morning.

Alligator
Alligator and small tree with reflection, 8:15 am

The bank where I was standing was much higher above the water in the second image, the sun was higher in the sky, and there was a remarkable difference in how the water appeared. The second Alligator was moving a little faster, too.

Alligator
Alligator behind grasses on bank, 9:15 am

Pond Changes

This little pond doesn’t get much attention at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, probably because it isn’t lined with flowers like some of the others. I always liked to stop by looking for turtles and wading birds that found it attractive.

Staff cleared years’ worth of fallen trees and limbs from the water and tidied the edges last fall. This made for a great reflection , but I haven’t seen much in the way of wildlife there since.

Pond at Magnolia Plantation
Pond at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

April 12, 2018.