Category Archives: Raptor

Eagle Fishing in Pond

The Bald Eagles were active November 17 at Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, partly due to a fish die off. I previously shared a series of an Eagle Fishing in the Canal from that morning. These single shots were taken in the same area.

Bald Eagle Fishing
Bald Eagle Fishing, Great Egret in Foreground

The Eagles ignored the Alligators and the Vultures ignored the Eagles.

Bald Eagle Fishing
Bald Eagle Fishing, Turkey Vulture on the dike

Great Egrets mostly ignored the Eagles, too, feeling no threat on this day. A large group of Ibis left in a panic during one of the Eagle fly overs.

Bald Eagle Fishing
Bald Eagle Fishing

Eagle Fishing in Canal

The rice field impoundments and canals were busy last Saturday morning including a Bald Eagle that was scooping up fish. There had been a die-off over night, likely due to a sudden temperature drop to near freezing.

Bald Eagle Fishing in Rice Field Canal
Bald Eagle Fishing in Rice Field Canal

The Great Egrets went about their business without any fuss.

Bald Eagle Fishing in Rice Field Canal
Bald Eagle Fishing in Rice Field Canal

I was quite a distance from the action but it was cool to see a few Eagles swooping over the Great Egrets and Alligators.

Bald Eagle Fishing in Rice Field Canal
Bald Eagle Fishing in Rice Field Canal

Osprey With Catch

I had seen a splash up the river where I was watching the Dolphins and thought it might be a strand feeding I had missed. Turns out it was an Osprey using his skills to get lunch!

Osprey with Fish
Osprey with Fish

I was quite surprised when he flew right passed me and continued out to the edge of the ocean where he landed to eat.

Osprey in Flight with Fish
Osprey in Flight with Fish

I had expected him to turn inland and find a tree and some cover. There had been several Pelicans watching him fish and an Eagle flying over–just a couple of characters that would be happy to take his meal away.

Osprey with Fish
Osprey with Fish on Beach

Bald Eagle Majesty

Sunday morning we saw at least seven Bald Eagles between two wildlife management areas we visited. I’m always in awe when I see one; their size and regal bearing when they sit is impressive and their flight skills are extraordinary.

This first one was likely watching the sunrise with us. We were hoping he was going to fish for breakfast in the pond in front of us, but after a half hour of waiting we moved on with him still sitting right there.

Bald Eagle in Pine Tree
Bald Eagle in Pine Tree

This utility pole sits at one end of the Bennets Point Road bridge over the Ashepoo River. From this vantage point the Eagle can see a vast area of river and marshland stretching at least a mile (1.6 KM) east and west.

Bald Eagle on Utility Post
Bald Eagle on Utility Post

Juvenile Black Vulture

As we approached the turnaround on one of the dikes in the wildlife management area we were visiting a juvenile Black Vulture stood in the middle of the road. Unfortunately he showed no fear of our car or us and only hopped along a few feet.

Ted finally got out of the car to gently urge him out of the driveway and he flapped/hopped up onto the gate, allowing me to turn the car without worrying about hitting him.

Juvenile Black Vulture
Juvenile Black Vulture

His still fuzzy head and hopping rather than flying identifies him as a juvenile. We walked around the opposite end of the gate and went on our way.

Juvenile Black Vulture
Juvenile Black Vulture

When we returned twenty minutes later he had relocated to the other end of the gate.

Juvenile Black Vulture
Juvenile Black Vulture

Quite regal looking, he ignored us as we passed back by and I saw him still there in the rear-view mirror as we drove away.

Juvenile Black Vulture
Juvenile Black Vulture

Barred Owl in Bamboo Grove

A pair of Barred Owls frequents the pond near this stand of bamboo looking for food. This owl had just had an unsuccessful attempt to catch a noisy bullfrog.

Barred Owl on Bamboo
Barred Owl on Bamboo

The bullfrog stopped his song but the owl flew away with nothing in his talons. The owl chose a spot with a good view of the pond to watch and listen for his next opportunity.

Barred Owl on Bamboo
Barred Owl on Bamboo

Native bamboo was grown on the plantations in South Carolina to create natural barriers to help keep livestock in and keep predators out. Today it makes a beautiful addition to some of the area gardens and museum properties.

Yellow-billed Kite: On the Ground

As part of the Yellow-billed Kite flying demonstration the handler tosses pieces of raw meat into the air to simulate a bug and the Kite catches them on the fly. I didn’t get a decent picture of that action, but in the sequence below the bird missed and immediately dropped to the ground to find the food.

Yellow-billed Kite:
Yellow-billed Kite – click image zoom in and you’ll see the meat in the bird’s mouth

The demonstration field was covered in little yellow flowers, a pretty background for this brown bird.

Yellow-billed Kite:
Yellow-billed Kite

He sauntered around a bit for taking to the sky again.

Yellow-billed Kite:
Yellow-billed Kite

Yellow-billed Kite, Milvus aegyptius

Ted, TPJ Photo, captured some nice images of the mid-air feeding  and the Kite taking food from the handler on the fly.

The Center for Birds of Prey offers photographers an opportunity to take close-up photographs of owls and other birds of prey a few times a year.

The Center for Birds of Prey, Photography Day, April 22, 2018,  Awanda, SC.

Yellow-billed Kite: In the Air

After his posing session at the Center for Birds of Prey Photography Day this Yellow-billed Kite had an opportunity to fly.

Yellow-billed Kite Flying
Yellow-billed Kite Flying with radio transmitter attached

Kites catch thier prey, mostly insects, by snatching from the air with their feet. This requires a lot of swooping and circling to get higher off the ground.

Yellow-billed Kite Flying
Yellow-billed Kite Flying

The Center’s birds are fed and according to the handler will not seek out food during flying demonstrations, returning to the handler for the reward of food. This particular Kite seemed to enjoy his time in the air, circling around the demonstration field over the row of photographers several times.

Yellow-billed Kite Flying
Yellow-billed Kite Flying

Yellow-billed Kite, Milvus aegyptius

The Center for Birds of Prey offers photographers an opportunity to take close-up photographs of owls and other birds of prey a few times a year.

The Center for Birds of Prey, Photography Day, April 22, 2018,  Awanda, SC.

Yellow-billed Kite: Posing

First, I need to give a shake.

Yellow-billed Kite
Yellow-billed Kite

Then, get my feathers settled.

Yellow-billed Kite
Yellow-billed Kite

Now I’m ready, wings stretched out, go ahead and take that photo!

Yellow-billed Kite
Yellow-billed Kite

Yellow-billed Kite, Milvus aegyptius

The Center for Birds of Prey offers photographers an opportunity to take close-up photographs of owls and other birds of prey a few times a year.

The Center for Birds of Prey, Photography Day, April 22, 2018,  Awanda, SC.