Category Archives: Wading Birds

Green Heron on a Branch

A lot of vegetation at the edge of the ponds is thick and tall as we go into the height of summer, obscuring a good view of the smaller herons as they forage.

Green Heron
Green Heron

I was able to peak through some tall grasses at this Green Heron after he hopped up onto a dead branch hanging over the water.

Green Heron
Green Heron

I moved a little further along the path and the Heron took up a different position on the branch, and the water in the background took on a different hue.

Green Heron
Green Heron

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Wading

I came upon a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron slowly wading at the edge of a pond. These herons tend to be skittish but this one seemed intent on his hunt, slowly and methodically advancing.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

This was my first visit to this pond and it was nice that the reeds and grasses at the edge were short enough to see over. However, all the bird reflections were interrupted by the grass stubble.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

A Green Heron dropped in to share the space.

Green Heron and Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Green Heron and Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Then the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron made his exit.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Slow Bird Day at Donnelley

A Snowy Egret was striking a pose on a pylon overlooking a full creek. This was about the only wading bird activity I saw on this trip.

Snowy Egret on Pylon
Snowy Egret on Pylon

The water was very high on both sides of the dike leaving the “Spoony Tree” standing in water. The pond level was too high for wading birds to feed.

The Spoonie Tree
The Spoonie Tree with Anhinga and Great Egret

For comparison here is the tree a couple months earlier when there were some Spoonbills around and a few Alligators lounged in the shallow water. The dirt around the roots has washed away and the tree appears dead. It won’t be a surprise to find out this tree has fallen over.

The Spoonie Tree
The Spoonie Tree with Cormorant and Roseate Spoonbills, Alligators lounging below

Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, SC
First two images: 6/18/2019
Third image: 4/18/2019

Little Blue Heron Feeding

Little Blue Herons will perch on logs or rocks to search for food rather than wade if something solid is available. With the water completely covered in duck weed it’s hard to say how deep it is.

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron

This pond has had a lot of water level changes, up and down, this spring which has freed a number of fallen tree branches that had been hung up on the edges. This Little Blue Heron took full advantage of a log as a hunting spot.

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron

I couldn’t make out what he was plucking out of the water but it seemed to satisfy him.

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron

Great Egret Chick Feeding Time

The Great Egret chicks waste no time when the adult returns to the nest with food. It’s every chick for himself, and the first order of business is to latch onto the adult’s beak or neck.

Great Egret Chicks Getting Fed
Great Egret Chicks Getting Fed

The egrets’ necks are very flexible and the chicks know how to encourage the regurgitation of their dinner.

Great Egret Chicks Getting Fed
Great Egret Chicks Getting Fed

The adult always takes a pause and looks skyward before producing the meal.

Great Egret Chicks Getting Fed
Great Egret Chicks Getting Fed

Then he bends one more time and one chick opens wide while the other watches.

It was hard to tell if they both got something this trip. The entire maneuver got repeated but they were all moving around so much I lost track of which chick was which.

Great Egret Chicks Getting Fed
Great Egret Chicks Getting Fed

When the chicks were smaller the adult would supervise and maybe have to do some enticing with the food to get them to eat. Now that they are nearly full-grown the adult quickly moves out of reach of those sharp beaks.

Great Egret Chicks Getting Fed
Great Egret Chicks Getting Fed

Taken 5/29/2019

Great Egret Triplet Chicks

The chicks have little control over their movements, they flop around the nest fighting to stay upright.

Great Egret Triplet Chicks
Great Egret Triplet Chicks

I marvel every year I watch this that any of them manage to stay in the nest.

Great Egret Triplet Chicks
Great Egret Triplet Chicks

The adults never take action to reign them in, but do provide some protection when they are this age from attackers.

Great Egret Triplet Chicks
Great Egret Triplet Chicks

5/22/2019

Great Blue Heron Chick Test Flight

This Great Blue Heron chick took a test “fly – hop” from the branch above his nest and over his sibling.

Great Blue Heron Chick Test Flight
Great Blue Heron Chick Test Flight

The sibling was less than impressed, but the flyer seemed pretty pleased with himself.

Great Blue Heron Chick Test Flight
Great Blue Heron Chick Test Flight

He liked it so much he climbed back up to the top and flapped his wings in the breeze.

Great Blue Heron Chick Test Wings
Great Blue Heron Chick Test Wings

I didn’t see him lift off again; he was content to watch the world from a higher vantage point.

Great Blue Heron Chick Test Wings
Great Blue Heron Chick Test Wings

Great Blue Heron Chicks Growing Up Fast

I don’t know just when they hatched but these two Great Blue Heron chicks were checking out their world on March 31st.

Great Blue Heron Chicks March 31
Great Blue Heron Chicks March 31

They were able to sit up and squawk for several minutes at a time.

Great Blue Heron Chicks March 31
Great Blue Heron Chicks March 31

I didn’t get any good images in between, but by May 5th they had the appearance of adults.

Great Blue Heron Chicks May 5
Great Blue Heron Chicks May 5

Able to stretch their necks for a better view, their world is just this nest. They are totally reliant on the parents bringing food.

Great Blue Heron Chicks May 5
Great Blue Heron Chicks May 5

On May 22nd their feathers looked more mature and the chicks spend more time grooming.

Great Blue Heron Chicks May 22
Great Blue Heron Chicks May 22

I have not seen these two chicks fly yet, but it won’t be long. It has been brutally hot here, 100 F (38 C) predicted for today, and these nests are out in the open with no shade. The chicks will do a pant-like behavior and sit with their wings out to help regulate temperature, which hopefully will help them survive.