Water levels in the large pond at Magnolia Cemetery are controlled with this screw mechanism connected to a gate that allows water to drain off into the marsh. I’ve often seen Belted Kingfishers that work the pond for food use it as a perch.
The Belted Kingfisher’s loud rattling call often helps you locate one, and I had watched one make several zippy trips across the pond without even getting to lift my camera. I took these from the car as we were leaving.
I got a little closer before another car came and captured this head on view showing off the Kingfisher’s top knot.
I last photographed a Yellow-billed Cuckoo about two years ago. I spotted one last week and recognized him in flight immediately due to his long, thin body.
They prefer woodland and the trees he found most appealing were shiny with highlighted leaves behind him.
He eventually moved to the other side of the path so the sun was shining on him, but didn’t quite get his head out into the light.
He watched patiently presumably for food, often looking up above him, but I didn’t see him even try to catch anything. After a couple minutes in this spot he moved higher and deeper into the tree line.
With amazing flying skill the Belted Kingfisher can hover continuously while eyeing the water below for a fish. I watched this one through two cycles of hover and dive; he didn’t enter the water either time.
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.
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.