Category Archives: Birds

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

Nature’s Beauty

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.

Sunflower
Sunflower and a Bee – click on photo for larger view

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.

Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture  – click on photo for larger view

 

 

Making A Hole

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.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

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.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

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.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker – click photo for larger view.

Lazy Hot Day

It was a hot afternoon at the swamp and now that nesting season is about over the Great Egrets that are still around don’t have much to do when they aren’t feeding.

Scratch in itch, if you can reach it with your beak.

Great Egret
Great Egret

Or go the traditional route, showing off a one-legged stance.

Great Egret
Great Egret

Itch satisfied let’s survey the swamp.

Great Egret
Great Egret

Or catch a few ZZZs.

Great Egret
Great Egret

These dead tree branches add nice interest to the photographs, but the sky was dull. I used some filters in Nik’s Color Efex Pro to add some depth to the background.

Little Blue Heron Flight School

Adult Little Blue Herons teach their young to fly by encouraging them, sometimes with food, out to the end of a branch. The adult then takes off, hoping the juvenile will follow.

Little Blue Heron Flight School
Little Blue Heron Flight School

Although the juveniles have been venturing onto the branches for a couple of weeks, In the beginning actually lifting off is a tough sell.

Juvenile Little Blue Heron Flight School
Juvenile Little Blue Heron Flight School

Many of the families have three or four chicks and the sibling competition seems to spur them on. This fellow appeared to be an only child, or maybe the others have already moved on.

Juvenile Little Blue Heron Flight School
Juvenile Little Blue Heron Flight School

“I don’t know if I can do this!”

Juvenile Little Blue Heron Flight School
Juvenile Little Blue Heron Flight School

Success! It was a short hop but he made it and landed successfully.