Great Egret Chick Feeding Time

The Great Egret chicks waste no time when the adult returns to the nest with food. It’s every chick for himself, and the first order of business is to latch onto the adult’s beak or neck.

Great Egret Chicks Getting Fed
Great Egret Chicks Getting Fed

The egrets’ necks are very flexible and the chicks know how to encourage the regurgitation of their dinner.

Great Egret Chicks Getting Fed
Great Egret Chicks Getting Fed

The adult always takes a pause and looks skyward before producing the meal.

Great Egret Chicks Getting Fed
Great Egret Chicks Getting Fed

Then he bends one more time and one chick opens wide while the other watches.

It was hard to tell if they both got something this trip. The entire maneuver got repeated but they were all moving around so much I lost track of which chick was which.

Great Egret Chicks Getting Fed
Great Egret Chicks Getting Fed

When the chicks were smaller the adult would supervise and maybe have to do some enticing with the food to get them to eat. Now that they are nearly full-grown the adult quickly moves out of reach of those sharp beaks.

Great Egret Chicks Getting Fed
Great Egret Chicks Getting Fed

Taken 5/29/2019

Dragonfly on Underside of Branch

This rather large dragonfly was looking for a spot to land and finally settled on this pretty lichen covered branch. In the first image he was hanging on to a bit of Spanish Moss.

Dragonfly Under Lichen Covered Branch
Dragonfly Under Lichen Covered Branch

He then got a better grip on the branch and stayed put. I did not see any insects for him to prey on. It was almost 100 F (37 C) and I wondered if he was looking for some shade. I don’t know what is going on with his tail–it looks like some plant debris was hitching a ride.

Dragonfly Under Lichen Covered Branch
Dragonfly Under Lichen Covered Branch

05/29/2019

New Anhinga Chick

A few wading bird pairs are just now hatching young even as some of the older chicks have fledged. I saw just one tiny chick underneath this female nesting Anhinga–you can just see the head at the lower left of the adult. Some of the other broods this year have had four chicks.

Female Anhinga and Chick
Female Anhinga and new Chick, Older chick behind

There may be more to come in this nest as the eggs may hatch over several days.

Female Anhinga and Chick
Female Anhinga and Chick

Anhingas feed their young by regurgitating food which the chicks actively retrieve by sticking their heads up the parent’s esophagus. Painful looking, especially when the chicks get bigger.

Female Anhinga and Chick
Female Anhinga and Chick – Feeding Time

Click on images for larger view.

Alligator on a Mission

While I was watching the Bard Owl of yesterday’s post an Alligator thrashed around at the edge of the pond then swam very deliberately out to the middle of the pond.

Alligator Swimming in Pond
Alligator Swimming in Pond

He negotiated around a few Cypress knees, made a U-turn and stopped directly underneath the owl, that was on a branch about 20 feet (6 meters) above the water.

Alligator Swimming in Pond
Alligator Swimming in Pond

If he was hoping the Barred Owl would swoop down he was disappointed. The Owl was very aware of the Alligator’s presence. After ten or fifteen minutes the Alligator swam back where he came from, climbed out of the water and disappeared.

Alligator Swimming in Pond
Alligator Swimming in Pond, Blue Hydrangeas reflecting in the water

 

Barred Owl Portrait

This morning the male Barred Owl did land in a sunny spot over the pond while he was hunting and I was in a good spot. I didn’t know until later, but the female and owlet were in the trees behind me waiting for their breakfast.

Barred Owl Portrait
Barred Owl Portrait

Today was the first time I’d been to the swamp in a week due to the extreme heat we’ve been having. We went early and were home by noon. It was already 95 F (35 C).

Great Egret Triplet Chicks

The chicks have little control over their movements, they flop around the nest fighting to stay upright.

Great Egret Triplet Chicks
Great Egret Triplet Chicks

I marvel every year I watch this that any of them manage to stay in the nest.

Great Egret Triplet Chicks
Great Egret Triplet Chicks

The adults never take action to reign them in, but do provide some protection when they are this age from attackers.

Great Egret Triplet Chicks
Great Egret Triplet Chicks

5/22/2019

Great Blue Heron Chick Test Flight

This Great Blue Heron chick took a test “fly – hop” from the branch above his nest and over his sibling.

Great Blue Heron Chick Test Flight
Great Blue Heron Chick Test Flight

The sibling was less than impressed, but the flyer seemed pretty pleased with himself.

Great Blue Heron Chick Test Flight
Great Blue Heron Chick Test Flight

He liked it so much he climbed back up to the top and flapped his wings in the breeze.

Great Blue Heron Chick Test Wings
Great Blue Heron Chick Test Wings

I didn’t see him lift off again; he was content to watch the world from a higher vantage point.

Great Blue Heron Chick Test Wings
Great Blue Heron Chick Test Wings

Great Blue Heron Chicks Growing Up Fast

I don’t know just when they hatched but these two Great Blue Heron chicks were checking out their world on March 31st.

Great Blue Heron Chicks March 31
Great Blue Heron Chicks March 31

They were able to sit up and squawk for several minutes at a time.

Great Blue Heron Chicks March 31
Great Blue Heron Chicks March 31

I didn’t get any good images in between, but by May 5th they had the appearance of adults.

Great Blue Heron Chicks May 5
Great Blue Heron Chicks May 5

Able to stretch their necks for a better view, their world is just this nest. They are totally reliant on the parents bringing food.

Great Blue Heron Chicks May 5
Great Blue Heron Chicks May 5

On May 22nd their feathers looked more mature and the chicks spend more time grooming.

Great Blue Heron Chicks May 22
Great Blue Heron Chicks May 22

I have not seen these two chicks fly yet, but it won’t be long. It has been brutally hot here, 100 F (38 C) predicted for today, and these nests are out in the open with no shade. The chicks will do a pant-like behavior and sit with their wings out to help regulate temperature, which hopefully will help them survive.