Category Archives: Wading Birds

Lazy Hot Day

It was a hot afternoon at the swamp and now that nesting season is about over the Great Egrets that are still around don’t have much to do when they aren’t feeding.

Scratch in itch, if you can reach it with your beak.

Great Egret
Great Egret

Or go the traditional route, showing off a one-legged stance.

Great Egret
Great Egret

Itch satisfied let’s survey the swamp.

Great Egret
Great Egret

Or catch a few ZZZs.

Great Egret
Great Egret

These dead tree branches add nice interest to the photographs, but the sky was dull. I used some filters in Nik’s Color Efex Pro to add some depth to the background.

Little Blue Heron Flight School

Adult Little Blue Herons teach their young to fly by encouraging them, sometimes with food, out to the end of a branch. The adult then takes off, hoping the juvenile will follow.

Little Blue Heron Flight School
Little Blue Heron Flight School

Although the juveniles have been venturing onto the branches for a couple of weeks, In the beginning actually lifting off is a tough sell.

Juvenile Little Blue Heron Flight School
Juvenile Little Blue Heron Flight School

Many of the families have three or four chicks and the sibling competition seems to spur them on. This fellow appeared to be an only child, or maybe the others have already moved on.

Juvenile Little Blue Heron Flight School
Juvenile Little Blue Heron Flight School

“I don’t know if I can do this!”

Juvenile Little Blue Heron Flight School
Juvenile Little Blue Heron Flight School

Success! It was a short hop but he made it and landed successfully.

Tricolored Mud Pedicure

Staff periodically allow the water to drain out of the man made ponds they manage in the South Carolina Wildlife Management Areas. Any fish and other delectables for wading birds get concentrated in the remaining water pools for easy eating for the wading birds.

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron
The mud that got exposed in the middle of this pond was thick and some of the smaller birds really had to work it to move along. This Tricolored Heron used his wings to help.

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron applying a little wing lift to pull out of the mud.
I don’t know how the underside of this Tricolored Heron stayed so white.

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron
Perhaps a surprise when landing, he didn’t seem to mind his feet and legs being coated. I didn’t see any of the birds in the area “shake it off” like a mammal might do.

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron
In addition to providing easy meals to migrating birds, the roots of grasses and other non-welcome vegetation around the pond are exposed to the sun, dry out, and hopefully die back before water is allowed to flow back in.

Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron

The Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron was part of the wading bird mix in the receding waters of this pond last week. Despite their name we do see them out during the day hunting while the hunting is good.

Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron
Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron

His shorter legs did not slow him down as he worked the water along with the other birds looking for food.

Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron
Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron

The mud, however, is more of an impediment when most of your legs and feet are in it.

Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron
Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron

Here is view of a cleaner bird after he flew into a tree for a safer vantage point of the pond activity.

Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron
Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron

Click on any photo for larger view.

Green Reflections

A pair of Juvenile Snowy Egrets were using the alligator platform to practice strutting their stuff.

Juvenile Snowy Egrets
Juvenile Snowy Egrets

Their reflections were interrupted by the duckweed, but I liked the tree reflections across the water.

Juvenile Snowy Egrets
Juvenile Snowy Egrets

This platform sits just off one of the islands where several Snowy Egrets nested. We could hear them but have rarely seen them.

Tricolored Heron Just Wanted Some Space

The Tricolored Herons are more solitary birds than some of the waders and we don’t see them as often as their larger relatives. This Great Egret landed almost on top of this Tricolor.

Tricolored Heron and Greet Egret
Tricolored Heron and Great Egret

The Great Egret was quickly followed by a Roseate Spoonbill. There must have been something good in the water.

Tricolored Heron and Greet Egret
Tricolored Heron, Great Egret, and Roseate Spoonbill

The Tricolored Heron selected another spot where he could have some room.

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron

There he was able to fish in peace, at least for a few minutes.

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron

Spoonbills Get Points for Style

This group of wading birds was moving down the impoundment as a pack, presumably following the fish.

Roseate Spoonbill
Roseate Spoonbills moving with the crowd that includes Great Egrets and Stilts with Wood Storks and more Egrets in the back

Many of the Roseate Spoonbills broke off on their own, preferring to feed in smaller groups or maybe needing shallower water. This older Spoonbill, identifiable by the darker pink on his wings, gets points for the big “swoosh” of water.

Roseate Spoonbill
Roseate Spoonbill

Setting up for the landing with uneven feet is awkward, but he pulled it off,

Roseate Spoonbill
Roseate Spoonbill

A near miss, this elegant landing scores extra for not disturbing his neighbor and for carrying a blade of marsh grass on his beak through the flight.

Roseate Spoonbill
Roseate Spoonbill

Click any photo for larger view.