I heard several Hawks calling around Magnolia Cemetery but didn’t see any. Sometimes they perch on head stones or in the trees around the pond. Oh well, nothing wrong with getting photos of an Ibis displaying his tree landing talents. I’m guessing he didn’t see the Hawk, either, as he executed a perfect touch down.
He blended right in so I lightened him a little. You can find him in the photo above by following the Ibis’s beak in a straight line left. Below, the Ibis has passed the Hawk.
You can see from the other photos that the Hawk moved only his head, neither intimidated by the Ibis nor thinking he’d make a good meal.
I did spot the Hawk after a few minutes and got a now deleted photo of one wing disappearing over a Magnolia tree.
Old-growth swamp forest, to be more precise, and a great home for Barred Owls. Some of the trees here are 1000 plus years old and the water circulating around them provides a perpetual feast for owls.
There are currently two pair of Barred Owls frequenting the boardwalk area maintained by Audubon South Carolina. We heard them calling to each other in the distance throughout our visit and then spotted this one napping.
Dappled lighting through the leaves and the stillness of the owl makes me wonder if we walked past his mate without realizing it.
Beidler Forest sits within the Four Holes Swamp, a 45,000-acre matrix of black water sloughs and lakes, shallow bottomland hardwoods, and deep bald cypress and tupelo gum flats. Four Holes Swamp is also a major tributary of the Edisto River, part of the Charleston area’s famous ACE basin. Over 17,000 of the swamp’s acres are owned by the National Audubon Society and make up what is known as the Francis Beidler Forest.
Audubon Center & Sanctuary at the Francis Beidler Forest, South Carolina, 9/17/2017.
Small Coopers Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, or maybe a Merlin? Hanging out where a forested area meets an agricultural field, any of them could be at home here.
The features that CornellLab’s All About Birds uses to distinguish the Merlin from the Sharp-shinned Hawk require flight or at least other angles. The Sharp-shinned Hawk has short, rounded wings and a very long tail. The Merlin has sharply pointed wings, a broad chest, and a medium length tail. Then there are the sex and age variations to confuse the ID.
It may come down to the “bluntness” of the face: the Merlin, a falcon, has a blunt face and the hawks are more pointy.
This fellow stayed put even after I took his photo and had moved on.
We often walk around a path where a pair of Barred Owls has been seen regularly since the spring. This was the first time I saw them both. The Owl below was quietly watching us while we photographed his mate in a tree on the other side of the path.
I had stepped aside to let another photographer get a view of the first Owl and was surprised to see and get better shots of Owl number two. There were lots of branches preventing a wider shot but he was closer and the light was a little better. He didn’t stay long and after this over-the-shoulder glance he swooped further out into the trees.
We often walk through the cemetery at Charleston’s Circular Congregational Church when we are in the neighborhood. Filled with trees, it is welcoming to many birds which may be why a Red-tailed Hawk buzzed the area, cruising over my head. He never slowed and I watched his beautiful tail disappear over a wall headed towards Queen Street.
We headed that way too, wondering if he might be perched in a nearby tree. Even better, he was in clear view on the tile roof of one of the old French Quarter homes.
I switched to my long lens and he stayed put while I angled around the front of the building, getting a few views of this temporary king of Queen Street.
Daily life went on below him: post-Irma trash pick up, street repairs, tourists bent on seeing every street but missing the details, a suited business man conducting his business on the phone in the street…nothing seemed to faze him.