Black-crowned Night-Heron

A flock of at least eight Black-crowned Night-Herons have taken space in a couple of the islands at the Heron Rookery.

Black-crowned Night-Herons

I did not see any at our last visit, just four days ago, and I don’t yet know if they stay here to nest or if this is just a stop-over.

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Several of the Herons were making loops around the island in search of good perching spots.

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Click on any photo for larger view.

 

American Wigeon

I’ve spotted American WIgeons off and on at Magnolia’s Audubon Swamp since the middle of January. Up until today they were always at the shady end of the pond resulting in poor shots.

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Today I finally got some nice photographs of ducks in the sun as they were having an early morning swim down the side of the pond. A pretty bird even without the iridescent green head stripe, some of the males are now sporting their breeding colors.

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Click on photos for larger view.

 

 

Red-shouldered Hawk Snake Snack

This Red-shouldered Hawk kept a vigilant watch while he snarfed down lunch, his head was swiveling all around.

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I hadn’t seen him land so didn’t know what he might be eating.

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I was rather surprised when I developed these photos that it was a snake and at the way it was coiled up under his feet.

Red-shouldered Hawk

From a little further down the path the background was nicer and the snake out of view.

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Click any photo for a larger view/close up of the snake.

Taken February 22, 2017.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

The tree lines around Magnolia Plantation are active with small birds going about their business.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

These Yellow-rumped Warblers have a chirpy song that gives you a hint where to look, but they don’t stay in one place for long and I didn’t get any good shots of the patch of yellow on their rump.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

They seem oblivious to the herons, egrets and other water birds carrying on in the pond just to the edge of these trees.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

This time of year before the trees leaf out is likely the best chance to photograph them.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Magnolia Plantation, Charleston, SC, 02/13/2017.

Great Blue Herons Mating Ritual

The mated pairs spend a lot of time surveying the nest, often adjusting the stick, and making sure they keep their claim. Other Great Blues or Great Egrets would be happy to take over a turn-key home.

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Their displays of affection include their feathers ability to defy gravity.

Great Blue Heron Mated Pair

They are awkward birds to begin with and this maneuver requires a lot of flapping.

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The ritual continues as the male continues to bring sticks to his mate.

Great Blue Herons Mating Dance

Click any photo for larger view.

Magnolia Plantation Audubon Swamp, Valentines Day 2017.

Anhinga Pair Nesting

Busy working on their nest at the end of the day this Anhinga pair was a challenge to photograph due to the low light. I used Dfine 2 to reduce the noise, hoping to keep the wing detail.

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The male brought Spanish Moss and branches for nesting materials

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Practically condo living,  all this activity is  just below an active Great Blue Heron nest. The GBH neighbors are mostly tolerant, but occasionally sqwak  over the side of their higher perch.

Anhinga Pair Nesting

Magnolia Plantation Audubon Swamp Rookery, 2/13 & 2/14 2017,

Wood Duck

A few Wood Ducks have been around the ponds at Magnolia Gardens over the last month. With the males’ color scheme they are easy to pick out in a crowd of ducks. That and they are usually retreating faster than the rest, having been aware of a human before you spot them.

Wood Duck

This day they were gathered at the far end of the big pond. I waited at an opening in the brush for them to edge their way closer.

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Back and forth, I finally got a couple of shots without too much glare on the water.