A female Red-winged Blackbird performing an early morning check.
This dead tree is a favorite with a number of woodpeckers, including a Red-bellied Woodpecker pair that was making a nest that I photographed last month.
While I was checking in on that activity on a recent visit a Red-bellied Woodpecker was nearly camouflaged high in the tree along with what I think was a recently fledged family of Downy Woodpeckers. They were a long way up and I couldn’t get an angle for a good image but did catch this one in flight.
Followed by his flowing gown this peacock sauntered by a flower border that while pretty, didn’t match his style.
Peacocks roam free at Magnolia Gardens as well as Middleton Place that I featured last week. On a recent visit this one was entertaining visitors showing off all of his glorious colors.
Using a small grassy area bordered with flowers as a stage he preformed a dance that was very elaborate, turning in full circles then reversing. If he was trying to impress a peahen it didn’t work as there weren’t any in sight. I was impressed though.
Not far from where I saw a Pileated Woodpecker wreaking havoc on the boardwalk to the swamp last week I heard the impressive tat-tat-tat again. This youngster was frozen in place in a nearby tree and clearly not the origin of the percussion.
He flew a little higher just as I spotted the adult again assaulting the underside of the boardwalk railing.
The adult flew up to the fledgling and started feeding him some regurgitated material.
The chick stuck to his spot and the adult flew off and returned several times, daintily offering the juvenile food.
The feeding process was very calm, especially compared to the egrets and herons I had just been watching.
Several Peacocks have the run of Middleton Place, a historic SC Plantation and Museum. They mostly stay in the barnyard area and on my last visit I spotted just this one sleeping on top of a rabbit hutch.
He opened his eyes to watch me watch him but he showed no sign of getting up.
Anhingas feed their chicks a little differently than the herons and egrets and it’s a little weird the first time you see it: the young stick their beaks down the adult’s throat to get the regurgitated food.
Like the herons, the young Anhinga will pull on the adults beak to start the feeding process. This adult had four young in the nest and the pushiest gets the most food.
Below you can see the featherless necks of the chicks and how the pouch at the corner of their jaw. It appears the one on the left is bleeding from a scratch–small wonder with all those sharp beaks.
I had changed positions trying to get a better view but they all kept dipping down below the branches.
Over and over this Red-bellied Woodpecker peeked out the hole then ducked back in.
Finally he came out and inspected a different hole in the same tree.
Back to hole number one.
Then the chips began to fly.
The light colored feathers on this woodpecker are much darker grey than others I have seen. I saw the pair at this same tree the week before and thought their color was different, but couldn’t be sure as the light was poor. Zoom in on the image below to see his face and body feathers.
I still get excited when I see a Pileated Woodpecker and to have one land on the boardwalk railing was a treat. They look pre-historic and check out those feet!
I’d guess he’d been to this spot before as he wasted no time dropping down over the edge.
He bobbed up and down, gave just a few pecks on the wood, and was eating something.
I have seen Carpenter Bees flying and hovering around this area for weeks. The substance the Pileated Woodpecker was eating wasn’t distinctive, but may have been bee eggs laid in the wood.
I forgot about looking over the edge after the woodpecker left for what would be a perfectly round hole made by the Carpenter Bee when a bright yellow bird zipped along in the other direction.
Anhingas often climb into trees with branches that hang over the pond for drying off. I’ve more frequently seen them down close to the water but this one was over my head giving an interesting view of his very long body.
From this view you can the sharpness of the beak, clearly adapted to spearing fish.
They are often vocal, making a low croaking sound, likened to a frog with a soar throat by Cornell’s All About Birds.