All posts by Ellen Jennings

Flight Control

This Great Egret was not just passing by using that elegant egret glide I’ve come to love; he was on a mission.

Great Egret in Flight
Great Egret in Flight

Note the extended short feathers at the wing bend and the angle of the outer part of the wing.

Great Egret in Flight
Great Egret in Flight

He made a sharp turn right above me, providing an interesting view of his wing structure.

Great Egret in Flight
Great Egret in Flight

He circled lower then dropped down into the edge of the pond, just out of my sight.

Vireo Nest, Empty

I’ve checked back on the White-eyed Vireo nest from my June 15th post a few times, and about a week later got a similar image, without the rain.

White-eyed Vireo on Nest
White-eyed Vireo on Nest, June 18

Two weeks later, the nest was empty. Could chicks have hatched and fledged in that short time? All About Birds says their nestling period is 9 – 11 days, so yes it is possible.

Vireo Nest, Now Empty
Vireo Nest, Now Empty

Once I was sure there were no birds in the nest I got closer for a side view. Although a bit shabby looking at the bottom, what an engineering marvel this nest was.

Vireo Nest, Now Empty
Vireo Nest, Now Empty, July 3

Also from All About Birds:

Males and females build a pendulous nest suspended from a Y-shaped fork. They collect insect silk and spiderweb and attach it to the fork until it makes a lacy shell. They then stick leaves, bark, plant fibers, rootlets, and bits of paper to the spiderweb shell. They also stick lichens, moss, or leaves to the outside for additional camouflage. The female lines the nest with rootlets, fine grass, or hair. It takes the pair around 3–5 days to complete the nest.

Long White Bridge, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

I’ve taken hundreds of pictures of the Long White Bridge at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens over the last five years. Even when there isn’t anything extra going on, like blooming azaleas, a Great Blue Heron hunting, or a perfect reflection–it just calls out to be photographed.  I took this image the last time I was there, July 3rd.

Long White Bridge
Long White Bridge, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Charleston, SC

On Tuesday this week a large tree on the left end of the bridge came down on the bridge. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but there was extensive damage to the structure. The bridge dates to the 1840s and plans are underway to rebuild promptly and exactly as it was.

My other photos of the  Long White Bridge

Barred Owl With Lizard for Lunch

This Barred Owl sat quietly with his catch, a Five-lined Skink, a common lizard in South Carolina.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl with Skink

After squeezing it with his beak for a bit he transferred it to his talon. You can see the tail dangling below the branch in this next image.

Barred Owl with Skink
Barred Owl with Skink

I didn’t see any sign of life in the lizard, but the owl kept a firm hold for six or seven minutes before flying off with it.

Barred Owl with Skink
Barred Owl with Skink

Great Egret Ripley Water

Wading along, this Great Egret passed through some different looks to the water. A little breeze was making it ripple and in the first image the light was reflecting off the water onto the bird.

Great Egret
Great Egret

As he moved further along, there was less reflection from the reeds on the opposite bank of the pond and the sky made the water seem bluer. Around water a lot can change in just a few feet.

Great Egret
Great Egret