Category Archives: Birds

Swallow Pandemonium

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.

Swallows on the Pond
Swallows on the 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.

Swallows on the Pond
Swallows on the Pond

This went on for at least a half hour with more birds joining in and others leaving.

Swallows on the Pond
Swallows on the Pond

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.

Early Morning Pond
Early Morning Pond

Click any photo for larger view.

The Nest Tree

You’ve seen this tree before, its a nesting spot for Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets. I’ve photographed nest building, chicks growing up and territorial spats here.

Late yesterday afternoon a King Fisher used the center trunk between dives.

King Fisher
King Fisher

When the King Fisher was gone an Ibis and juvenile Little Blue Heron used it for a resting spot, mutually ignoring each other.

Ibis and Little Blue Heron
Ibis and Little Blue Heron

The top nest area was surprisingly intact after our recent storms. The lower area where the Great Egrets nested suffered some damage, but come spring they may fix it up.

Ibis and Little Blue Heron
Ibis and Little Blue Heron

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

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.

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

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.

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

Wood Storks

I startled a few of these Wood Storks, which then startled me, when I walked under a tree where they were perched. They took off then settled in on the other side of a small pond.

Wood Stork
Wood Stork – click photo for larger veiw

The path through this sanctuary led underneath the new tree. Knowing they were there I approached slowly and got some nice shots from below.

Wood Stork
Wood Stork – click photo for larger veiw

The pine tree made a  much better backdrop than the usual mud we see them wading in.

Wood Stork
Wood Stork – click photo for larger veiw

Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site, Charleston, SC.

Common Gallinule Chicks

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.

Common Gallinule
Common Gallinule Chick – click image for larger view

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.

Common Gallinule Chicks
Common Gallinule Chicks – click image for larger view

One of the adults came closer when the chicks ventured into the deeper water to supervise.

Common Gallinule Chick with Adult
Common Gallinule Chick with Adult – click image for larger view

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.

Juvenile Alligator
Juvenile Alligator – click image for larger view

 

Hairy Woodpeckers

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.

Hairy Woodpeckers
Hairy Woodpeckers

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.

Hairy Woodpeckers
Hairy Woodpeckers

Click either photo for larger view. 

Belted Kingfisher Passing Through

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.)

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher – click on photo for larger view

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.

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher – click on photo for larger view

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.

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher – click on photo for larger view

Hummingbird Territory

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.

Hummingbirds
Hummingbird Spat  – click photo for larger view

Occasionally one or two will rest in the Crepe Myrtle or high in one of the Pines.

Hummingbird
Hummingbird – click photo for larger view

 

Roseate Spoonbills

You have to love the pink. Actually, what’s not to love about a Spoonbill?

Roseate Spoonbills
Roseate Spoonbills – click on photo for larger view

The profile of a mature Roseate Spoonbill in flight shows off that fabulous pink and the bill well adapted for feeding in shallow water.

Roseate Spoonbill in Flight
Roseate Spoonbill in Flight – click on photo for larger view

The Spoonbills in this group are younger with less color, but still something to look at.

Roseate Spoonbills
Roseate Spoonbills and Tricolor Heron  – click on photo for larger view

Their flight seems effortless and like most of the large wading birds they are masters of the glide.

Roseate Spoonbill in Flight
Roseate Spoonbill in Flight  – click on photo for larger view