Personal Island for Great Blue Heron

On his own island paradise, complete with snacks, a Great Blue Heron was drifting down the canal at the edge of the old rice fields.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

The shrimp were to his liking.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

The island clump was moving just fast enough to make me dizzy looking through the view finder.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

The Heron paced back and forth a few times and settled on some smaller catches, barely seen hanging from his mouth here.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

He left paradise as it rounded a turn, but the fishing must have been good off its shores as he returned just a few minutes later.

Wood Ducks

A few Wood Ducks were hanging out on an alligator ramp in the old rice field pond. Everyone was happy until a hawk flew over and one by one they slid into the water and paddled to the far shore and relative safety of the reeds.

Wood Ducks
Wood Ducks – click image for larger view

This one lone duck didn’t seem to get the message and stood her ground on a lump of debris.

Wood Duck
Wood Duck – click image for larger view

These photos were taken two weeks before Hurricane Irma swept through South Carolina last week. I passed this spot yesterday and the duck weed blew into the pond corners and many of the reed islands are re-arranged.

Splish Splash

It’s always a surprise to see a wading bird in the water with their body in. This Little Blue Heron was taking a prolonged bath in water that was a bit murky.

Little Blue Heron taking bath
Little Blue Heron taking bath – click photo for larger view

He stood in one spot having a soak for at least ten minutes. I’m not sure if those bubbles were from his splashing that I missed or something else was in the water.

Little Blue Heron taking bath
Little Blue Heron taking bath – click photo for larger view

Then the action started:

Little Blue Heron taking bath
Little Blue Heron taking bath – click photo for larger view

Bathing can be hard on your coiffure.

Little Blue Heron taking bath
Little Blue Heron taking bath – click photo for larger view

Finally hopping out of the water for a big shake.

Little Blue Heron taking bath
Little Blue Heron taking bath – click photo for larger view

And another:

Little Blue Heron taking bath
Little Blue Heron taking bath – click photo for larger view

Then a peaceful rest at the edge of his personal bath tub.

Little Blue Heron taking bath
Little Blue Heron taking bath – click photo for larger view

 

More of the Orb-Weaver Spider

I took this series of photos of the Orb-Weaver Spider just before the single shot that I posted on August 23.

Golden Silk Orb-weaver
Golden Silk Orb-weaver – click photo for larger view

Seen at rest most of the time, these spiders can move with speed when lunch is involved, which is what caught my eye.

Golden Silk Orb-weaver
Golden Silk Orb-weaver – click photo for larger view and to see thread being spun

The web threads change color with the light, but this day they also had a yellowish coating that may have been pollen. It had just rained and there were a lot of wild flowers growing along the boardwalk.

Golden Silk Orb-weaver
Golden Silk Orb-weaver – click photo for larger view and to see thread being spun

Hanging on to her web from her hind legs she used the other legs to manipulate her catch. Other ensnared insects appeared to float in front of the web.

Golden Silk Orb-weaver
Golden Silk Orb-weaver – click photo for larger view and to see thread being spun

At one point she was dangling.

Golden Silk Orb-weaver
Golden Silk Orb-weaver – click photo for larger view and to see thread being spun

For reference, the entire web was about 3 feet across and that dangling fly was the size of a common house fly.

Common Gallinule Chicks

The Common Gallinules have reproduced much later in the summer than the other water birds in this area.  Through the end of August we spotted a few families around the rice ponds and marsh areas.

Common Gallinule
Common Gallinule Chick – click image for larger view

Awkward, like most young, these chicks are covered with fuzz which picked up the duck weed, making them look even sillier. Members of the Rallidae family, they do swim even though their feet are not webbed and I usually see them just floating or wading.

Common Gallinule Chicks
Common Gallinule Chicks – click image for larger view

One of the adults came closer when the chicks ventured into the deeper water to supervise.

Common Gallinule Chick with Adult
Common Gallinule Chick with Adult – click image for larger view

At least one juvenile Alligator was nearby and while I don’t think they can catch or eat even the small Gallinule chicks, I’m sure mom wasn’t far away.

Juvenile Alligator
Juvenile Alligator – click image for larger view

 

Hairy Woodpeckers

On a recent trip to Maine a  family of Hairy Woodpeckers entertained me as they investigated this tree. The tree wasn’t too healthy looking but the lack of full boughs and the lichen made for good woodpecker props.

Hairy Woodpeckers
Hairy Woodpeckers

I couldn’t resist photographing them even though the tree was very tall, the birds were in the higher reaches and I had left my long lens at home.

Hairy Woodpeckers
Hairy Woodpeckers

Click either photo for larger view. 

Powdery Alligator-flag and Friend

I spotted what I now know is a frond of Powdery Alligator-flag (Thalia dealbata) on a walk around the swamp last week. I took a few photographs because of the interesting color and texture. If I had seen the green insect at the time, possibly a member of the katydid family, I would have maneuvered closer for some additional shots.

Powdery alligator-flag and friend
Powdery alligator-flag and friend – click on photo for larger view

I had revisited this plant after my May post with a visiting bee and continued to find it unremarkable throughout the summer. Evidently insects find it more attractive.

Orb-Weaver Spider Weaving Lunch

Quite a few of the Orb-Weaver Spiders have built their webs at an angle to the board walk headed to the swamp making side view photographs a possibility.  It was fascinating to watch this one pluck a fly or bee from the web and then what seemed to be wrapping it in silk.

Golden Silk Orb-weaver
Golden Silk Orb-weaver – click on the photo for a larger view. Zoom in to the center to see the silk attachment from the web

There were some other insects dangling from similar wrappings nearby. These spiders seem much larger than last summer’s crop, but that may be my imagination, or Ted’s, playing tricks on me.