Tag Archives: Birds in Flight

Forster’s Tern

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.

Forster's Tern
Forster’s Tern

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.

Forster's Tern
Forster’s Tern

And did I mention they are fast? This is the best I got this day for a dive.

Forster's Tern
Forster’s Tern

If they pick up a small fish with their feet they quickly pass it to their mouth and down the hatch it goes.

Forster's Tern
Forster’s Tern

Juvenile Bald Eagle

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.

Juvenile Bald Eagle
Juvenile Bald Eagle Coming in for 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.

Juvenile Bald Eagle
Juvenile Bald Eagle

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.

Juvenile Bald Eagle
Juvenile Bald Eagle

Great Egret, In Flight

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.

Great Egret Flying Over Pond
Great Egret Flying Over Pond, Alligator in Water

The bank slopes up to one of the dikes we often walk on and there is another canal just on the other side.

Great Egret Flying Over Pond
Great Egret Flying Over Pond

This Great Egret kept on going over the dike and down into the marsh on the other side.

Great Egret Flying Over Pond
Great Egret Flying Over Pond

Eagle Fishing in Pond

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.

Bald Eagle Fishing
Bald Eagle Fishing, Great Egret in Foreground

The Eagles ignored the Alligators and the Vultures ignored the Eagles.

Bald Eagle Fishing
Bald Eagle Fishing, Turkey Vulture on the dike

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.

Bald Eagle Fishing
Bald Eagle Fishing

Skimming In The Surf

Previously I have seen Black Skimmers skimming on calm ponds. On this day I saw a few from this crowd doing it in the ocean.

Black Skimmers at Surf's Edge
Black Skimmers at Surf’s Edge

As you can see above the Atlantic Ocean surf was not particularly rough, but it sure is a different challenge for a Skimmer.

Black Skimmer Skimming past Tern
Black Skimmer Skimming past Tern

This one hugged the surf line, ignoring other birds along the way.

Black Skimmer Skimming in Ocean Surf
Black Skimmer Skimming in Ocean Surf, Sand Piper in Foreground

With the surf in constant motion he had to also alter his path. I did not see him catch anything, although they can gulp it down on the fly and keep on moving.

Black Skimmer Skimming in Ocean Surf
Black Skimmer Skimming in Ocean Surf

American White Pelicans Taking Off

A dozen White Pelicans were paddling back and forth across the back of this pond with a Great Blue Heron watching over them.

American White Pelicans in Pond
American White Pelicans in Pond

All of a sudden it was time to move on.

American White Pelicans Taking Off
American White Pelicans Taking Off

These huge birds make very little disruption as they take off. They can weigh up to 20 pounds (9 KG) and leave barely a ripple in the water..

American White Pelicans Taking Off
American White Pelicans Taking Off

Their effortless looking flight continued as they banked, turning towards another pond further into the old rice impoundment.

American White Pelicans Over Marsh
American White Pelicans Flying Over Marsh

Osprey With Catch

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!

Osprey with Fish
Osprey with Fish

I was quite surprised when he flew right passed me and continued out to the edge of the ocean where he landed to eat.

Osprey in Flight with Fish
Osprey in Flight with Fish

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.

Osprey with Fish
Osprey with Fish on Beach

Roseate Spoonbills Flying Over Marsh

A small flock of Roseate Spoonbills was flying low over the marsh headed for a drained area just in front of me.

Roseate Spoonbills in Flight
Roseate Spoonbills in Flight

I was hoping they would land but they kept going.

Roseate Spoonbills in Flight
Roseate Spoonbills in Flight

And going, passing by the spot where some shore birds had gathered and I had a good view. They landed just to my right, behind some reeds.

Roseate Spoonbills in Flight
Roseate Spoonbills in Flight

Click on any image for larger view.

Bear Island Wildlife Management Area, SC, 10/20/2018.