It had been pretty quiet on the marsh ponds: we arrived just before sunrise and hadn’t seen much activity even an hour later. The Swallows started to come in small groups, flying over our heads from the tidal side of the trail into the grass on the far side of this pond.
As if on a signal they started stirring up the water, flapping and swooping. It was too far to tell if they were bathing or trying to catch insects, or maybe both.
This went on for at least a half hour with more birds joining in and others leaving.
I didn’t see where they went, but when it was over the pond became still again, with a couple of Great Egrets dropping in to check the far shore.
Out in open, this juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron seemed undecided about his next move. During the day it is more common to see them tucked at a pond or stream shoreline, or in a tree. Perhaps risky for him but it made a nice photograph for me.
Human presence or maybe an alligator swimming by urged him to go. He landed in some trees across the pond. I could still see him but he was in a more protected spot.
The Common Gallinules have reproduced much later in the summer than the other water birds in this area. Through the end of August we spotted a few families around the rice ponds and marsh areas.
Awkward, like most young, these chicks are covered with fuzz which picked up the duck weed, making them look even sillier. Members of the Rallidae family, they do swim even though their feet are not webbed and I usually see them just floating or wading.
One of the adults came closer when the chicks ventured into the deeper water to supervise.
At least one juvenile Alligator was nearby and while I don’t think they can catch or eat even the small Gallinule chicks, I’m sure mom wasn’t far away.
On a recent trip to Maine a family of Hairy Woodpeckers entertained me as they investigated this tree. The tree wasn’t too healthy looking but the lack of full boughs and the lichen made for good woodpecker props.
I couldn’t resist photographing them even though the tree was very tall, the birds were in the higher reaches and I had left my long lens at home.
The old Pitt Street Bridge at Pickett Park in Mount Pleasant is known locally as a hang out for Belted Kingfisher. Often they oblige bird watchers by fishing just off the pier and then posing on the old bridge beams. (See my December post, Belted Kingfisher.)
Yesterday a female made just one pass, impressing us with her flying skill, paused for less than 15 seconds on the beam, then flew out over the marsh.
At low tide there isn’t much water near the bridge for a diving bird to hunt in and at over 90 degrees it was too warm to hang out waiting for the tide to turn. We didn’t stay much longer, either.
This summer we have been entertained in our back yard by a small group of hummingbirds zipping around. We regularly see four of them and they spend more time chasing each other defending their territories than feeding. There are at least six other feeders in our immediate neighbors’ yards so there is plenty of spots to go around but they aren’t into sharing.
Occasionally one or two will rest in the Crepe Myrtle or high in one of the Pines.