Category Archives: Raptor

Turkey Vultures On The Ground

It was very windy, the kind of wind that makes your eyes water, as I walked around the recently burned rice field pond on Monday. At the first corner a number of Turkey Vultures were hunkered down.

Turkey Vultures
Turkey Vulture On Unburned Clump of Dried Cattails

At first I thought they might have found something dead to snack on, but as I got closer I could see they were resting.

Turkey Vultures
Turkey Vultures

Some of the reeds on the edge of the pond did burn, although not all the way to the ground.

Turkey Vultures
Turkey Vultures

A wider view, with the Vultures blending in to the brown vegetation. Oddly, I got no odiferous hint that there had recently been a fire here.

Turkey Vultures
Turkey Vultures

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Charleston, SC
January 9, 2023

Red-shouldered Hawk Looking For A Meal

I noticed this well camouflaged Red-shouldered Hawk perched in a tangle of crepe myrtle branches. Then I realized it was the flitting of the Mocking Bird that had caught my eye.

Red-shouldered Hawk and Mocking Bird
Red-shouldered Hawk and Mocking Bird

The Mocking Bird passed in front of the hawk undisturbed and went on his way.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

It was late afternoon and I thought maybe the hawk wasn’t in feeding mode, but then he dropped to the ground. He immediately mantled over some prey, covering it from other potential predators.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

That prey either escaped or was very tiny, consumed in one bite.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

The hawk flew to another crepe myrtle and continued to watch the ground.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Charleston, SC
November 3, 2022

Red-shouldered Hawk ID confirmed with Merlin Bird ID app.

Osprey

I finally spotted the Osprey that had been calling, plaintively, for several minutes. By the time I raised my camera he had ducked down. The nest alone made an artsy silhouette on this grey day.

Osprey Nest
Osprey Nest – Canon 18-200mm

The Osprey is probably a juvenile, calling for a parent and hoping to get fed from the sound. An hour or so later he flew some laps around the area, and paused in this tree.

Osprey
Osprey – Tamron 180mm Macro

Then the sun came out and I saw the nest from a different angle, well placed in swamp.

Swamp, Cypress Gardens
Swamp, Cypress Gardens

August 26, 2022
Cypress Gardens, Moncks Corner, SC

Raccoon: Backyard Shenanigans

After finding my backyard bird feeder on the ground two mornings in a row I put up the trail cam.

Ah ha! I had brought the feeder in, but there was plenty of seed scattered around the ground.

Racoon Reaching Up Bird Feeder Pole
Racoon Reaching Up Bird Feeder Pole

A couple of nights later, I discovered the Raccoon had company: check out the pair of eyes on the fence, just to the left of the pole.

Barred Owl on fence watching Racoon scrounge
Barred Owl on fence watching Racoon scrounge

Here’s a low quality 20 second video where you can see the owl’s eyes change as it turns its head.

Update: depending on how you are viewing this post, the video may not play. On Ted’s iPad, viewing through WP Reader, the controls are visible but nothing happens šŸ™.

The raccoon came back about an hour later and there was no sign of the Owl. The camera had not picked up his movements coming or going.

I’m identifying the bird as a Barred Owl based on size and regularly hearing one in the area.

GardePro A3 Trail Camera

Sunspot On Barred Owl

Dappled sunlight was reaching the tree where this Barred Owl was perched.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl

Alas, only his tail was to be lit up.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl

After a bit he dove down and gave the appearance of clutching prey under water.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl

But, he came up with nothing and chose a different perch to continue his hunt.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Charleston, SC
June 10, 2022

Birding At Home: Swallow-tailed Kite

I answered the door a few days ago to find our excited neighbor and his two pre-teen boys: “Can you tell us what kind of bird that is?”

Swallow-tailed Kite
Swallow-tailed Kite

Why, yes, I can!

Swallow-tailed Kite
Swallow-tailed Kite

Pretty neat to see a Swallow-tailed Kite swooping over our neighborhood.

Swallow-tailed Kite
Swallow-tailed Kite

They had been watching the bird off and on all day as it was feeding on dragonflies.

Swallow-tailed Kite
Swallow-tailed Kite