Category Archives: Nature

Eastern Phoebe

The Eastern Phoebes around the rice field canals often eat by alternating flying out over the canal to gather insects and landing on a perch that overhangs the water.

Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Phoebe

The marsh reeds appeared golden at the end of the afternoon on this day and I was able to get a bit better background as I got closer to this Phoebe.

Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Phoebe

Not surprisingly, many of their chosen perches are obstructed from view by branches and reeds. And they don’t hold still very long.

Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Phoebe

Following A Yellow-rumped Warbler

The sky was gloriously blue and this Yellow-rumped Warbler flitted in and out of the trees along the rice field dike.

Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler

Anyone who follows birds, especially the small ones, knows the advantage of fall and leafless trees.

Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler

The other edge of the dike is lined with various evergreen trees making it easy for these little fellows to disappear in a flash.

Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler

Red-shouldered Hawk

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.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

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.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

I moved to a vantage point on a perpendicular trail just in time to see him fly off.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

He didn’t go far and continued his calling.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

Newly Opened Dike

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!

Alligator and Reflection
Alligator and Reflection

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.

White Ibis
White Ibis

This White Ibis was enjoying the sun and along came a Little Blue Heron.

Little Blue Heron and White Ibis
Little Blue Heron and White Ibis

The Little Blue Heron slowly encroached on the Ibis’  space.

Little Blue Heron and White Ibis
Little Blue Heron and White Ibis

Roseate Spoonbills

This is a broader view of one of the places I found Roseate Spoonbills feeding in October. The tall marsh reeds are intact behind them, hiding that there is a narrow road on the dike there, and another pond beyond that. Even the tallest photographers I know can’t see over those reeds and in some spots they are two feet thick.

Roseate Spoonbills
Roseate Spoonbills

These Roseate Spoonbill images were taken from a dike that runs perpendicular to that main dike. I was standing where the reeds were less dense and some had been flattened by alligators climbing through them and wind and rain beating them down.

Roseate Spoonbills
Roseate Spoonbills

As these birds were feeding the flock was constantly changing with one or two coming or going looking for “greener grass”.

Roseate Spoonbills
Roseate Spoonbills

Everyone Face Left!

Well, almost everyone.

As I was maneuvering to a spot where I could view the wading bird feeding frenzy I spotted this small group of egrets off to the side. They seemed focused on something to my right; the big group was further back and to my left. The weren’t interested in joining in with the others. Perhaps they’d had their fill.

Egret Gathering
Egret Gathering, Face Right, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Cattle Egret

When the larger groups from the huge flock took off it was pretty noisy, mostly from the wing beats. During one of those lift offs this group decided it was time to move on.

Egret Gathering Takes Flight
Egret Gathering Takes Flight

Shore Birds Wading

This pair of shore birds, probably Lesser Yellowlegs, worked their way up a marsh inlet as the tide was going out, probing for breakfast.

Wading Shore Birds
Wading Shore Birds

Other Yellowlegs that I have seen actually have obvious yellow legs. I’m not sure if this pair is just too muddy to tell for sure or if it’s their age.

Wading Shore Birds
Wading Shore Birds

Or they are a different bird. The Merlin identification app also suggested they might be Long-billed Dowitchers.

Wading Shore Birds
Wading Shore Birds

They didn’t find much sustenance when I was watching, but they were pretty in the morning sun.

Wading Shore Birds
Wading Shore Birds

Wasp Architechture

From a distance this wasp nest looked like a dried flower head jammed into these branches. When I got close enough to see the insect movement I could tell that it was not a flower at all.

Wasps on Nest
Wasps on Nest

It’s interesting that the nest appeared to have a uniform depth and I couldn’t tell what was supporting the disk. The wasps were crawling around the outside of the nest, not coming and going as I would have expected.

Wasps on Nest
Wasps on Nest

He Must Know Something

All this empty shoreline and you had to land here?

Great Blue Heron and Great Egret
Great Blue Heron and Great Egret

The Great Blue Heron was tucked out of my sight until the Great Egret touched down.

Great Blue Heron and Great Egret
Great Blue Heron and Great Egret

The wading birds follow each other, usually hoping to capitalize on a good fishing opportunity. Why else would the Great Blue Heron have chosen this spot?

Great Blue Heron and Great Egret
Great Blue Heron and Great Egret