Category Archives: Water Birds

Black Australian Swans with One Cygnet

One Black Australian Swan pair had a single cygnet on my recent visit to Swan Lake and Iris Gardens.

 Black Australian Swans with One Cygnet
Black Australian Swans with One Cygnet

The youngster was all about practicing his swimming skills.

 Black Australian Swans with One Cygnet
Black Australian Swans with One Cygnet

He didn’t get too far from the parents, who were quick to catch up with him if he paddled off.

 Black Australian Swans with One Cygnet
Black Australian Swans with One Cygnet

Just a little ball of fluff, he exhibited no concern about forging ahead.

 Black Australian Swan Cygnet
Black Australian Swan Cygnet

Owned and operated by the City of Sumter, SC, Swan Lake Iris Gardens is home to all eight known species of swan.

New Anhinga Chick

A few wading bird pairs are just now hatching young even as some of the older chicks have fledged. I saw just one tiny chick underneath this female nesting Anhinga–you can just see the head at the lower left of the adult. Some of the other broods this year have had four chicks.

Female Anhinga and Chick
Female Anhinga and new Chick, Older chick behind

There may be more to come in this nest as the eggs may hatch over several days.

Female Anhinga and Chick
Female Anhinga and Chick

Anhingas feed their young by regurgitating food which the chicks actively retrieve by sticking their heads up the parent’s esophagus. Painful looking, especially when the chicks get bigger.

Female Anhinga and Chick
Female Anhinga and Chick – Feeding Time

Click on images for larger view.

Anhinga Ready to Go!

The male Anhingas have been showing off as they get ready for breeding season. The blue-green coloration around their eyes is very pronounced and I’ve seen them displaying their wings in dramatic poses.

Anhinga Ready to Fly
Anhinga Ready to Fly

This male was in a tree above the pond-side trail flashing his wings. I didn’t see any females nearby and he soon took off with a flourish.

Anhinga In Flight
Anhinga In Flight

He didn’t go far, landing in a nearby tree that already has a Great Blue Heron nest and several Great Egret nests.

Anhinga In Flight
Anhinga In Landing Below Great Egret Nest

March 10, 2019

Great Blue Heron Relieved of Nest Duty

This Great Blue Heron’s mate arrived to take a turn at the nest and this one wasted no time on the usual greeting. He headed for shore, landing just beyond me on the path.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

I backed up to give him some room and so I could see what he was going to do.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

After his turn on the nest a big shake was in order.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

He went down over the bank, had a look around, then flew off.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

Tundra Swans Through Fog

The Tundra Swans are still hanging out at Bear Island Wildlife Management Area although local lore says they will be heading north any day now.  A flock averaging 300 of these Swans has been coming to this area every winter since the mid 1970s.

On this morning the fog was dense and the air perfectly still. The gnats almost carried us off. The water level in this pond is low and these Swans were wading or sitting in mud rather than swimming.

Tundra Swans in Fog
Tundra Swans in Fog

A few took off and disappeared into the fog before I could even focus on them.

Tundra Swans in Fog
Tundra Swans in Fog

Taken 3/3/2019

3 Coots

I had hopes that these three American Coots would synchronize their swimming direction or angle for a portrait composition.

American Coot Trio
American Coot Trio

They circled, they zigged and zagged, they separated and came back together, but an organized group shot was not to be.

American Coot Trio
American Coot Trio

Eventually they did all turn their heads in the same direction, almost.

American Coot Trio
American Coot Trio

Floating Photobomb

The White Ibis was wading in the canal just off the dike at the rice field impoundment. I waited patiently for him to get far enough from the bank to get a clear shot.

White Ibis
White Ibis

Then an intruder! Several Ring-billed Gulls were on the opposite bank in the shallow water. I didn’t expect any to be interested in the deeper water, not thinking they would float, not wade.

White Ibis and Gull
White Ibis and Ring-billed Gull

The Gull continued paddling until he was behind the White Ibis and lifted his head, turning a photobombed shot into a nice bird combo image.

White Ibis and Gull
White Ibis and Ring-billed Gull