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.
There is not much going on at the marsh areas we visit. The summer heat if full force and nesting / family rearing season for the birds that breed here has ended.
A Sunflower and a Turkey Vulture were my best photographs of the day. The Sunflower in a field planted by the Wildlife Management Service was hosting a bee.
The Turkey Vulture had been working on road kill clean up duty and circled around as we passed by. Masters of wind currents they are beautiful in flight, if not at all glamorous close up. Even on this short flight his turning skill into the pine tree was impressive.
I’ve watched a Red-bellied Woodpecker on this tree on several visits to this area. It is a neck-craning experience due to surrounding trees, but I can’t resist following the sound of the tap-tap-tapping.
The tree he is working on is dead and if you put your hand on the trunk you can feel the vibration as the woodpecker does his thing. I think nesting season is over and doesn’t appear to be finding food, but there must be something attracting him.
Not a great shot, but standing way back and peaking through the leaves there is a view of the large hole being worked on. He puts his entire top half in the hole to tap-tap-tap.