White Ibis usually travel in groups but this one was by himself searching the edges of a small pond. There is a full tree canopy over the pond so not much direct light gets to the water, and the reflected light appears in lots of colors.
Back and forth he went with an occasional sweep of the water with his beak, hunting for food.
Reflections of some Cyprus Knees and a few dapples of sunlight changed the look of the water as the Ibis moved along.
I was standing at the edge of a small pond when this Little Blue Heron landed in a tree above me. Surprisingly he stayed put even though several other folks walked underneath him, most without even noticing him.
With breeding season over the wading birds tend to ignore each other but this one had his eye on something, and was chatting about it.
Hmm, a big stare. I could hear an Anhinga also doing a bit of bird chat, too. I never expected it would be up even higher than the Little Blue, where he continued to stare.
When I moved on I finally spotted the Anghinga in the highest available spot looking out over a pond behind where the Little Blue Heron stood.
This Great Egret worked hard in the reeds to capture a Siren, a weird eel-like salamander that hangs out in the mud, and flew to a secluded corner of the pond to figure out how to eat it. He dropped and retrieved it several times.
A Great Blue Heron had been following along, slowly getting closer until the Great Egret decided to relocate, taking lunch with him.
Covered with mud, the Great Egret took this opportunity to dunk and rinse his catch.
He took off again as the Great Blue maneuvered closer.
The Great Blue Heron took off, too. They went out of my sight so I don’t know who got to eat.
More than other wading birds I see the Roseate Spoonbills often act like they are playing “king of the hill,” jockeying for the top spot or poking at each other to move along.
When pushed enough they take a less desirable spot on this little clump.
This pond is not tidal; the water level is controlled by the SC Department of Natural Resources and on this day it was high. There is an inlet behind where I was standing that is tidal and when the tide goes out the Spoonbills will fly over there to feed in the shallower stream. In the meantime they amuse themselves, and me, with tree antics.
Here are a few more Tricolored Heron images from last month when I saw so many.
This one wasn’t having much luck with his fishing but made nice water ripples and I liked the intersection of his beak with the reeds.
The patient standing pose is common among the bigger herons and I often see the Great Blue Heron standing out in the open like this. The Tricolored Herons don’t seem to do it as often, tending to stick to the pond edges.
This section of the canal that runs around an old rice field at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens has recently been dredged and widened. Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Storm Irma in 2017, followed by Hurricane Michael in 2018 all pushed mounds of vegetation debris into this corner making it less attractive to the various wading birds that pass through.
The upturned dirt has started to sprout reeds and a few Great Blue Herons have been hanging out on the edge.
From the closest vantage point the background still looks a bit like a moonscape. It will be interesting to watch how the birds’ habits may change now that this water can freely flow.