Category Archives: Wading Birds

Gathered Around

The Cormorants were content drying their wings on the Alligator ramp as a murky sun warmed the afternoon. A Great Blue Heron came along and disrupted their peace.

Gathering Spot
Great Blue Heron coming in, Cormorants holding their territory

The Cormorants did not surrender their ground despite some posturing from the Great Blue.

Gathering Spot
Great Blue Heron puffed up

An Alligator popped up to see what was happening as I continued along my walk.

Gathering Spot
Great Blue Heron, Cormorants, and Alligator

Tricolored Herons

A number of Tricolored Herons were hanging out around the dike surrounding the old rice fields this afternoon.

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron perched above the water

The one below is probably older.

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron and his reflection

The small herons are territorial and this one was making his presence known to an approaching Snowy Egret. The reeds on my side of the water kept me from photographing the egret.

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron defending his spot

The egret kept on coming and pretty soon they both took off, squawking and flapping. They settled down in a new spot out in the reeds.

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron in flight

Click on any photo for larger view.

Did You See A Hawk?

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.

Ibis Landing Next to Hawk
Ibis Landing Next to Hawk

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.

Ibis Landing Next to Hawk
Ibis Landing Next to 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.

Ibis Landing Next to Hawk
Ibis Landing Next to Hawk

I did spot the Hawk after a few minutes and got a now deleted photo of one wing disappearing over a Magnolia tree.

Racing the Rising Sun

Taking photographs of the rising or setting sun highlights just how quickly the earth moves. During the rest of the day you are hardly aware of this, but when working to position yourself in just the right spot at either end of daylight you feel like you are racing against the sun.

Sun Rising
Sun Rising

This Great Blue Heron seemed content with his chosen spot to watch the marsh start a new day. He stayed put until the sun was fully up and the glare kept me from seeing him.

Sun Rising Great Blue Heron
Sun Rising Great Blue Heron

Just four minutes after the first shot above, the photograph below was taken just before the sun would be blinding in my face.

Sun Rising Great Blue Heron
Sun Rising Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron In Flight

A Great Blue Heron looped around me twice, going in and out of the early morning sun across a variety of marsh backgrounds. He started to touch down then decided that wasn’t the spot.

Great Blue Heron in Flight
Great Blue Heron in Flight

He was on a leisurely flight, surveying the area and looking for a spot to have to himself.

Great Blue Heron in Flight
Great Blue Heron in Flight

Elegant in flight the heron glided across the trail I was on with little effort, finally banking sharply and landing out of sight in the next pond.

Great Blue Heron in Flight
Great Blue Heron in Flight

Spoonbills Moving With the Tide

Roseate Spoonbills follow the ebbing and flowing water in the tidal marshes looking for food. The tide was coming in and this group was moving with it towards the shallower water.

Roseate Spoonbills
Roseate Spoonbills
It was barely perceptible to the human eye that the water was moving. Those shiny bubbles are created by air escaping from the recently flooded mud.

Roseate Spoonbills
Roseate Spoonbills
The Spoonbills, however, know when it is time to go: over the berm where I was standing: follow the leader.

Roseate SpoonbillsRoseate Spoonbills

The height of the water on  the other side is controlled by the SC Department of Natural Resources using trunks that were originally placed when rice was grown in these ponds. Too deep for feeding, the Spoonbills landed in a tree to rest.

Spoonie Tree
Spoonie Tree
When I turned back a few minutes later the inlet where I first spotted them had filled with water and none of this mud was visible.

Click any photo for larger view.

Sunrise on Roseate Spoonbills

The first morning sun highlighted the pink in these handsome birds. The Roseate Spoonbills often stand in a straight line like this when they are in small groups, sometimes with one outlier.

Roseate Spoonbills
Roseate Spoonbills

They either weren’t hungry or there wasn’t much to eat because they got involved with personal grooming and looking around.

Roseate Spoonbills
Roseate Spoonbills

An Eagle flew over and that might have distracted them.

Roseate Spoonbills
Roseate Spoonbills with a few ducks

There was still some fog in the air as a few of them lifted off and they disappeared into the mist.

Roseate Spoonbills
Roseate Spoonbills

Click on any photo for a larger view.