Category Archives: Wading Birds

Great Egret Not Going to Share Lunch

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.

Great Egret with Siren
Great Egret with Siren

A Great Blue Heron had been following along, slowly getting closer until the Great Egret decided to relocate, taking lunch with him.

Great Egret with Siren
Great Egret with Siren

Covered with mud, the Great Egret took this opportunity to dunk and rinse his catch.

Great Egret with Siren
Great Egret with Siren

He took off again as the Great Blue maneuvered closer.

Great Egret with Siren
Great Egret with Siren

The Great Blue Heron took off, too. They went out of my sight so I don’t know who got to eat.

Great Blue Heron Following Great Egret with Siren
Great Blue Heron Following Great Egret with Siren

Roseate Spoonbills

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.

Roseate Spoonbills
Roseate Spoonbills & Cormorant

When pushed enough they take a less desirable spot on this little clump.

Roseate Spoonbills
Roseate Spoonbills

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.

Roseate Spoonbills
Roseate Spoonbills

May 2019, Donnelley Wildlife Management Area

Tricolored Heron

Here are a few more Tricolored Heron images from last month when I saw so many.

Tricolored Heron In Flight
Tricolored Heron In Flight

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.

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron

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.

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron

Great Blue Heron

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.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

The upturned dirt has started to sprout reeds and a few Great Blue Herons have been hanging out on the edge.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

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.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron in Pines

A juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron was settled on a pine branch in the early morning sun.

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

The charring on the tree trunk is from last year’s prescribed burn, a process managed by South Carolina’s Department of Natural Resources to reduce the risk of an uncontrolled wildfire.

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

Tricolored Heron Trio

Tricolored Herons were dotted all around a small pond last week at Bear Island WMA.

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron

Most of them were sticking to the edges of the water, but these three were interested in hanging out in a group of bushes and kept swapping spots.

Tricolored Herons
Tricolored Herons

The one on the left had briefly flown off and returned with his pals intently watching his landing.

Tricolored Herons
Tricolored Herons

The marsh grasses have taken on a variety of hues as the summer progresses, perhaps those greens looking a bit fake.

Tricolored Herons
Tricolored Herons

Tricolored Heron

There were a couple dozen Tricolored Herons dotting the sides of the canal that opened into a small pond.  Some of them relocated as I approached.

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron in Flight

Patient hunters, the Tricolored Herons will stare at the water a long time. This one had just stabbed the water for a fish creating a ripple.

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron Hunting

As I walked further down the dike this one flew right over me, checking me out as he went.

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron in Flight

Immature Reddish Egret

Wading birds usually ignore each other when they feed, each one just going about his business. This young Reddish Egret did seem to be intimidated by the Wood Storks clacking their bills. Then he decided to do a Reddish Egret maneuver and flapped his wings.

Immature Reddish Egret
Immature Reddish Egret

He didn’t get the full dance move, but the closest Wood Stork took notice.

Immature Reddish Egret
Immature Reddish Egret

And did his own two-step.

Immature Reddish Egret
Immature Reddish Egret

The Reddish Egret retreated…

Immature Reddish Egret
Immature Reddish Egret

,,, Nothing to see! The Reddish Egret went back to hunting while a Snowy Egret gave a flap for good measure.

Immature Reddish Egret
Immature Reddish Egret

Rarely seen in South Carolina, Reddish Egrets are known for their lively dance across the water as they feed.

Reddish Egret: The Dance has images of the dance I took in Florida in February 2018.

Bear Island WMA, 7/21/2019.