There was a lot of activity to be seen on a late afternoon boat ride into the Harbor River from Russ Point on Hunting Island, SC even as the day came to an end.
From the beach near the dock a fisherman was casting into the river.
A Bald Eagle watched over the river and surrounding marsh from a dead tree.
A pod of Dolphins was all around us as we set out, probably fishing for the last meal of the day.
Off in the distance it was raining.
The Harbor River is at the southern end of the Ashepoo-Combahee-Edisto (ACE) Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve.
The Reserve’s 99,308 acres of pine and hardwood upland, oyster reef, forested wetland, barrier islands, cypress swamp, and tidal marsh combine to make this one of the largest undeveloped estuaries on the East Coast and home to many endangered species.
This Black Swallowtail Butterfly flitted along on the outside of the plants lining the walkway as I went along the edge of the pond, obscuring my view. Finally he landed in a fern and seemed to peak through the fronds.
He then moved to a more open area and spent some time on this statice type plant.
The plant was down an embankment putting me even with the Butterfly for part of his feeding.
The area just beyond these plants has recently been flooded as part of a plan to make an additional pond near the heron rookery. Next year the vegetation will likely be very different here.
A year ago I captured similar images of butterfly and plant at a different pond about 25 miles (40 Kilometers) from this spot and thought the plant to be Brazilian Vervain (Verbena brasiliensis). Black Swallowtail Butterfly is the post if you’d like to compare.
This Great Blue Heron had just brought food to his chicks in a nearby nest. The adults often leave quickly, presumably to get away from the young squabbling over the meal they have to share or take from the other.
The adult wandered down over the bank into the edge of the pond which is covered with various water weeds that reflected the late afternoon sun.
There are a number of Red-shouldered Hawks around the swamps I frequent. I often hear them call, and this day I finally spotted one on an open branch. I thought he was about to fly after displaying the rousing behavior.
Instead he settled in and called some more. I’ve observed Red-shouldered Hawks make a lot of noise like this before when they appear to be hunting, as contrary as it seems. All potential prey should be driven into hiding.
I moved to a vantage point on a perpendicular trail just in time to see him fly off.
These images were taken in a section of the wildlife management area that I don’t visit often. Until recently you had to climb over fallen trees to get there and the dike is lower, which puts the photographer closer to the water which is good and bad.
Getting a lower prospective and Alligator reflection is good. Being closer to unseen Alligators can scare the &#!% out of a photographer if they move!
Being lower also means less breeze, which much of the year means more mosquitoes. Last week was cooler so there wasn’t much insect activity.
This White Ibis was enjoying the sun and along came a Little Blue Heron.
The Little Blue Heron slowly encroached on the Ibis’ space.