There is not much color around the edge of the marsh right now. All of the reeds have turned brown and most have fallen over. A Great Egret struck a nice pose in the middle of this drab scene.
I liked this foot up pose, even with that intruding dead limb across the bird’s neck. Over the last couple years this has been one of the favorite nesting trees for Great Blue Heron and Great Egrets so I expect I’ll be seeing a lot of that limb as breeding season unfolds.
Last year that limb had branches off it, that have either broken away or been pulled off for nest material and this would not have been a clear view. I think the remaining limb is too big for a Heron to break off and put in the nest but I won’t be surprised to see one try.
This Yellow-rumped Warbler, also known as “Butter Butt” paused as he was looking for snacks along the tree line of the rice field dike.
The warblers tend to be fast and elusive, usually working the inner branches as they move along a tree line.
It’s always a treat when they turn towards the camera, even though this is not the Butter Butt’s most colorful side.
With no leaves on the trees the Red-shouldered Hawks are easy to spot when they are around the edges of the swamp. Their red-orange color palette and size stand out even when they aren’t moving.
After first seeing this one I was able to get an unobstructed view from a little further along the trail.
He appeared to be looking for a snack as he studied the ground.
After about 20 minutes he flexed his wings and I expected him to fly, hoping it would be left to right in front of me.
Not to be, he settled in facing the other way.
A small number of Great Blue Herons are busy building nests around the swamp. This one landed on a small island to look for nest building material.
He just couldn’t find the right stick, selecting and discarding all sizes as he traipsed between the Cypress knees.
I finally gave up hoping to see him fly with a stick; he was still poking around when I moved on.
I saw this Red-shouldered Hawk standing on the ground at the side of a pond and approached slowly. Other times I’ve seen them do this the bird was squeezing his next meal, but I didn’t see any food here.
Afterwards, when I zoomed in on what I thought was a tree root or Cypress knee, it turned out to be a turtle standing on its end.
Who knew a Red-shouldered Hawk could lift so much?He didn’t struggle at all and disappeared into the woods with his catch
I don’t know what made the hawk take off; I was standing still and the only human in view.
These were taken with the Sony Alpha 6500 which uses an electronic viewfinder, not the best arrangement for images of birds in flight due to the lag time.
Sony Alpha 6500, Sony 55-210 mm, at 210 mm.
This Great Blue Heron was alert and posturing as he staked his claim to a potential nest site.
It was a dark afternoon, even had been sprinkling a bit. I processed these each a little differently, trying to compensate for the lack of light.
A Great Egret flew by but did not stop as the GBH gave a pointed look.
I was taking a short-cut from the rice field back to the swamp and almost walked by him, perched on a branch just off the path. Throughout December I have been hearing the Red-shouldered Hawks calling around the swamp but this is the first one of seen in awhile.
Wading birds usually don’t pay any attention to what the other creatures around them are doing. This one, however, was intrigued by something moving at the pond’s surface.
The water was thickly covered with duck weed and fallen leaves, and there is a thick tangle of other pond vegetation.
At first I thought it might be an Alligator and wondered about the Little Blue’s wisdom in checking it out as it thrashed a bit.
I never saw a head stick up and I now think it might have been a turtle.
The Little Blue Heron didn’t provoke a reaction and kept on moving in his search for lunch.
I had hopes that these three American Coots would synchronize their swimming direction or angle for a portrait composition.
They circled, they zigged and zagged, they separated and came back together, but an organized group shot was not to be.
Eventually they did all turn their heads in the same direction, almost.