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.
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.
I don’t know how the underside of this Tricolored Heron stayed so white.
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.
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.
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.
His shorter legs did not slow him down as he worked the water along with the other birds looking for food.
The mud, however, is more of an impediment when most of your legs and feet are in it.
Here is view of a cleaner bird after he flew into a tree for a safer vantage point of the pond activity.
This group of wading birds was moving down the impoundment as a pack, presumably following the fish.
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.
Setting up for the landing with uneven feet is awkward, but he pulled it off,
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.