Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Wading

I came upon a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron slowly wading at the edge of a pond. These herons tend to be skittish but this one seemed intent on his hunt, slowly and methodically advancing.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

This was my first visit to this pond and it was nice that the reeds and grasses at the edge were short enough to see over. However, all the bird reflections were interrupted by the grass stubble.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

A Green Heron dropped in to share the space.

Green Heron and Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Green Heron and Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Then the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron made his exit.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Out of a Rut

Ted and I have been visiting the Donnelley Wildlife Management Area regularly for almost three years. Somehow we always take the same few routes. The place is huge, just over 8000 acres, and yesterday we tried a new walking trail which starts in some woods overrun with mosquitoes then opens up to this!

Rice Field Ponds and Clouds
Rice Field Ponds and Clouds – click for larger view

The puffy clouds reflecting in the old rice field ponds were the perfect touch for some landscape photos. Several walkable dikes wind around the ponds and we saw a wide variety of birds, a few Alligators, and two Armadillos. And not another human being.

Rice Field Ponds and Clouds
Rice Field Ponds and Clouds – click for larger view

Slow Bird Day at Donnelley

A Snowy Egret was striking a pose on a pylon overlooking a full creek. This was about the only wading bird activity I saw on this trip.

Snowy Egret on Pylon
Snowy Egret on Pylon

The water was very high on both sides of the dike leaving the “Spoony Tree” standing in water. The pond level was too high for wading birds to feed.

The Spoonie Tree
The Spoonie Tree with Anhinga and Great Egret

For comparison here is the tree a couple months earlier when there were some Spoonbills around and a few Alligators lounged in the shallow water. The dirt around the roots has washed away and the tree appears dead. It won’t be a surprise to find out this tree has fallen over.

The Spoonie Tree
The Spoonie Tree with Cormorant and Roseate Spoonbills, Alligators lounging below

Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, SC
First two images: 6/18/2019
Third image: 4/18/2019

The Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston

Built in 1905, The Gibbes Museum of Art refers to the  dome that crowns the Rotunda Gallery as “Tiffany Era.” It seems the sought after Tiffany markings are not to be found based on the museum’s news articles about a recent renovation that included cleaning the dome.

The Dome, The Gibbes Museum of Art
The Dome, The Gibbes Museum of Art, Rotunda Gallery

I took the image above standing on the big fleur-de-lis in this next image and looking up. I wanted to lay on the floor but thought it might be frowned on.

The floor is tile, that was (gasp!) covered in brown linoleum along with the beautiful woodwork being painted white sometime in the 1950s or early 1960.

Rotunda Gallery
Rotunda Gallery

This view out the huge windows in the front shows a hint of the neighboring Circular Church, another architectural beauty in Charleston.

View Out Second Floor, The Gibbes Museum of Art
View Out Second Floor, The Gibbes Museum of Art

Black Swallowtail Butterfly

This Black Swallowtail Butterfly flitted along on the outside of the plants lining the walkway as I went along the edge of the pond, obscuring my view. Finally he landed in a fern and seemed to peak through the fronds.

Black Swallowtail Butterfly
Black Swallowtail Butterfly on Fern

He then moved to a more open area and spent some time on this statice type plant.

Black Swallowtail Butterfly
Black Swallowtail Butterfly

The plant was down an embankment putting me even with the Butterfly for part of his feeding.

Black Swallowtail Butterfly
Black Swallowtail Butterfly

The area just beyond these plants has recently been flooded as part of a plan to make an additional pond near the heron rookery. Next year the vegetation will likely be very different here.

Black Swallowtail Butterfly
Black Swallowtail Butterfly

A year ago I captured similar images of butterfly and plant at a different pond about 25 miles (40 Kilometers) from this spot and thought the plant to be Brazilian Vervain (Verbena brasiliensis).  Black Swallowtail Butterfly is the post if you’d like to compare.

Little Blue Heron Feeding

Little Blue Herons will perch on logs or rocks to search for food rather than wade if something solid is available. With the water completely covered in duck weed it’s hard to say how deep it is.

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron

This pond has had a lot of water level changes, up and down, this spring which has freed a number of fallen tree branches that had been hung up on the edges. This Little Blue Heron took full advantage of a log as a hunting spot.

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron

I couldn’t make out what he was plucking out of the water but it seemed to satisfy him.

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron

Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Powdery Alligator-flag

This is a long named bird and long named plant! The Powdery Alligator-flag doesn’t look like it would have much to feed a Hummingbird but this one spent several minutes investigating this single stalk.

Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird

After circling a few times she perched for a short rest.

Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird

I was able to move to a slightly closer spot, then a cloud covered the sun. And as is the way with Hummingbirds, zip and she was gone.

Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Swallowtail Butterfly on Azalea

Azaleas have been planted all around the swamp, many of them bloom off and on through the summer, despite the heat. This reddish colored one was a perfect complement to a Swallowtail Butterfly.

Swallowtail Butterfly on Azalea
Swallowtail Butterfly on Azalea

The flowers must have been providing some nourishment as the Butterfly kept going around the bush.

Swallowtail Butterfly on Azalea
Swallowtail Butterfly on Azalea

He went deep into each blossom, his head disappearing behind the petals.

Swallowtail Butterfly on Azalea
Swallowtail Butterfly on Azalea

Then he gracefully backed out before moving on.

Swallowtail Butterfly on Azalea
Swallowtail Butterfly on Azalea

Frog, Big

I haven’t seen many frogs around the various ponds I visit. Usually I just hear the splash as they disappear. I heard this one and his pals in a croaking chorus long before I got to the pond. I finally spotted him near the edge of the water. At least two others were answering in the deeper reeds.

He was huge! Bigger than my hand.

Big Frog at Edge of Pond
Big Frog at Edge of Pond

This is a bit further out in the pond, which is the same pond that the Barred Owls hunt around. The frogs might live longer if they didn’t announce themselves with such enthusiasm.

Cypress Knees and Reflections in Pond
Cypress Knees and Reflections in Pond