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.
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.
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.
Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, SC
First two images: 6/18/2019
Third image: 4/18/2019
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.
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.
I couldn’t make out what he was plucking out of the water but it seemed to satisfy him.
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.
The egrets’ necks are very flexible and the chicks know how to encourage the regurgitation of their dinner.
The adult always takes a pause and looks skyward before producing the meal.
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.
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.
I don’t know just when they hatched but these two Great Blue Heron chicks were checking out their world on March 31st.
They were able to sit up and squawk for several minutes at a time.
I didn’t get any good images in between, but by May 5th they had the appearance of adults.
Able to stretch their necks for a better view, their world is just this nest. They are totally reliant on the parents bringing food.
On May 22nd their feathers looked more mature and the chicks spend more time grooming.
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.