Black Skimmers, Every Which Way

I hardly knew which way to look when this flock of Black Skimmers was actively feeding.

Black Skimmer Flock Feeding
Black Skimmer Flock Feeding,

The sun was just up, but behind a cloud bank so the light was dim.

Black Skimmer Flock Feeding
Black Skimmer Flock Feeding

This entire pond is normally under water, but was drained for a couple of weeks to help control vegetation.

Black Skimmer Flock Feeding
Black Skimmer Flock Feeding

This has a bonus effect for feeding birds as any fish are concentrated in a smaller pool of water.

Black Skimmer Flock Feeding
Black Skimmer Flock Feeding

Bear Island Wildlife Management Area, SC
May 9, 2022

American White Pelicans, Late In Season

We were surprised to find American White Pelicans at Donnelley on May 15, thinking they had long flown north for the summer.

American White Pelicans
American White Pelicans

A dozen or so were around the pond and a few paddled closer, occasionally feeding but mostly just bobbing around.

American White Pelicans
American White Pelicans

An Alligator paddled by, too; they ignored him.

American White Pelicans
American White Pelicans and American Alligator

A wider view with the Pelicans moving towards the back of the pond.

American White Pelicans, Vultures in Spoonie Tree, Big Pond at Donnelley WMA

Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, SC
May 15, 2022

Congaree National Park, Big Tree Adventure

In early May I went on a combo boat – hiking trip with fifteen enthusiastic adventurers into the Congaree National Park, about 18 miles southeast of Columbia, the SC state capital.

Congaree River
Congaree River

After traveling up the winding Congaree River from the Bates Bridge Landing we went into the forest to see some amazingly large, and old, trees.

Congaree National Park
Congaree National Park

Very big trees!

Congaree National Park
Congaree National Park

Photography in the forest that shows the relative size is hampered by–the forest.

Congaree National Park
Congaree National Park, Cypress Knees Everywhere

We ate our lunch with a couple of the biggest, including this one.

Congaree National Park
Congaree National Park, Cypress Knees that were several feet tall

Much of the forest floor was muddy, and slippery. And yes I fell. Holding my camera high

Congaree National Park
Congaree National Park

From the park website (nps.gov/cong/index.htm)

Congaree National Park has the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States

May 4, 2022

Dolphin In Marsh

Seeing Dolphins never gets old…

Dolphin Pair in Marsh
Dolphin Pair in Marsh

There was an exceptionally high tide that morning, allowing Dolphin to explore beyond their normal range.

Dolphin Pair in Marsh Creek
Dolphin Pair in Marsh Creek

These Dolphin would have traveled more than ten miles from St. Helena Sound to reach this point. Follow all the twists and turns along the yellow line I’ve drawn:

Path of the Dolphin, Nine miles (14.5 KM) as the crow flies

This spot is a dead end for their travels.

Dolphin Pair in Marsh Creek
Dolphin Pair in Marsh Creek

The pair swirled around in this pool a few times then disappeared back the way the came.

Dolphin Pair in Marsh Creek
Dolphin Pair in Marsh Creek

Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, SC
May 15, 2022

Territorial Dispute: Snowy Egret vs Tricolored Heron, Part 2

Now what turned into some beak clacking.

Snowy Egret and Tricolored Heron Faceoff
Snowy Egret and Tricolored Heron Faceoff

Size isn’t everything, but sometimes it helps.

Snowy Egret and Tricolored Heron Faceoff
Snowy Egret and Tricolored Heron Faceoff

Finally the Tricolored Heron made a full body move…

Snowy Egret and Tricolored Heron Faceoff
Snowy Egret and Tricolored Heron Faceoff

…pushing the Snowy Egret off his perch.

Snowy Egret and Tricolored Heron Faceoff
Snowy Egret and Tricolored Heron Faceoff

The Tricolored Heron got tangled up in the palm fronds for a few seconds, but not apparent damage.

Snowy Egret and Tricolored Heron Faceoff
Snowy Egret and Tricolored Heron Faceoff

Territorial Dispute: Snowy Egret vs Tricolored Heron, Part 1

St. Augustine Alligator Farm, FL
April 13, 2022