The sun was going down and the tide going out. This Great Blue Heron was looking for a spot to settle.
Looking out Shem Creek, Mount Pleasant, SC.
Click on photos for larger view.
On a return trip to the Audubon Garden at Magnolia Plantation I was able to focus more on the non-heron activity. Their nesting activity was still amazing to watch, but these birds also caught my eye.
A number of Blue-winged Teals were zipping about, mostly ignoring the Red-Shouldered Hawks watching from the trees.
This Ruby-crowned Kinglet was one of a variety of elusive small birds darting through the thick underbrush.
On this visit the only Woodpecker I saw was this Red-bellied, nicely offset by the Spanish Moss.
Following a ritual herons around this pond went back and forth fetching nesting materials.
These beaks weren’t made for carrying and much of what he picked up was lost.
Sticks seemed to be the favored material based on reaction back on the nest.
“Let me help you with that.”
I startled this vulture as he was feeding on a dead fish washed up at a boat landing on the Wando River. This, of course, startled me. Vultures are abundant near Charleston, SC, but this is the first one I’ve seen with his toes in the water.
Similar to the Black Vultures, the Turkey Vulture is elegant in flight.
He swooped up to a nearby dock waiting for me to move on.
This Brown Pelican was about to show how it is done.
In a matter of seconds he went from just bobbing along to full flight.
Taken just after sun down and the light was fading fast.
The Ural Owl flying demonstration at The Center for Birds of Prey, Awendaw, SC was in a wooded area rather than the open field where the Black Vulture, Red-tailed Hawk, and Peregrine Falcon were featured.
He flew between the audience members where we got a close up look of this owl from Europe and northern Asia.
Certainly not nature’s most beautiful bird, but what elegance in flight.
Their bald heads help them stay clean as they dine on decaying matter.
Taken at a flying demonstration at The Center for Birds of Prey, Awendaw, SC.
Another set of photos from a flying demonstration at The Center for Birds of Prey, Awendaw, SC. I got some practice shooting a very fast bird with dismal results. The bird was perched on his handler’s gloved hand in the photo above.
This shot is of the bird working to gain altitude; he was moving pretty fast, but nothing like when he dove.
This is after it was over, the falcon safely on the ground with his “catch” that had been swung by his handler. He was keenly aware of the vultures circling overhead, wondering if he had something to share.
Another shot after the falcon returned to the handler. The wire is from a radio transmitter, not a tether to the handler.
These photos are from a flying demonstration at The Center for Birds of Prey, Awendaw, SC. The wire from the bird’s back in the photo above is from a radio transmitter that will help the staff locate the bird should he take an “unauthorized” trip.
The yellow pigmentation in the beak and feet is exaggerated due to the bird’s diet which is somewhat different than it would be in the wild.
It was great to see the bird close up, but nothing matches seeing him in flight, his red tail in full view.
Wading in the swamp up to his belly, this beautiful Little Blue Heron lived up to his description as a “stand and wait” predator. A little wading, then some waiting.