I’ve watched several Forster’s Terns the last few times I’ve been to the rice field impoundment. They are incredibly acrobatic in flight, twisting and turning, then swooping down to the water to go after small fish.
They are quite striking birds, even in non-breeding plumage. When they’ve make the turn and loop back for another run at the pond is the best opportunity to photograph them.
And did I mention they are fast? This is the best I got this day for a dive.
If they pick up a small fish with their feet they quickly pass it to their mouth and down the hatch it goes.
I spotted this juvenile Bald Eagle circling the rice field pond a couple of times, then he put his feet down. I thought I was going to capture a landing.
He changed his mind! A pair of adult Eagles use this area daily, and generally the juveniles are not welcome to share. I waited and watched thinking maybe one of them was approaching. If so, I did not spot it.
Junior circled the pond one more time then landed in a pine tree further down the edge of the pond. If I hadn’t seen him land I wouldn’t have known he was there. He stayed put for longer than I stood waiting for him to make another move.
Great Egrets spend a lot of time standing and watching. Occasionally one in a group decides to relocate; this one took a loop over the pond. There were a number of Alligators and Vultures sunning along the bank.
The bank slopes up to one of the dikes we often walk on and there is another canal just on the other side.
This Great Egret kept on going over the dike and down into the marsh on the other side.
The Bald Eagles were active November 17 at Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, partly due to a fish die off. I previously shared a series of an Eagle Fishing in the Canal from that morning. These single shots were taken in the same area.
The Eagles ignored the Alligators and the Vultures ignored the Eagles.
Great Egrets mostly ignored the Eagles, too, feeling no threat on this day. A large group of Ibis left in a panic during one of the Eagle fly overs.
I spent a lovely afternoon watching birds along a dike at the edge of one of the old rice fields. This canal runs parallel to the dike and several Great Blue Herons worked their way up and down the canal, looking for the best sunning and fishing spots.
I had seen a splash up the river where I was watching the Dolphins and thought it might be a strand feeding I had missed. Turns out it was an Osprey using his skills to get lunch!
I was quite surprised when he flew right passed me and continued out to the edge of the ocean where he landed to eat.
I had expected him to turn inland and find a tree and some cover. There had been several Pelicans watching him fish and an Eagle flying over–just a couple of characters that would be happy to take his meal away.