The tide was almost low and the shallow inlet water was attracting a number of shore birds looking for a meal, including a few Black Skimmers. My view wasn’t great and some tall grass partially obstructed the action, but watching these gorgeous birds skim for food is fascinating.
The flying gull and wading Tricolored Heron paid no head to the speeding Skimmer.
The Skimmer made a practiced move of a quick look underneath and behind.
The Tricolored Heron was not giving up his spot.
Gracefully the Skimmer banked, skirted the heron and headed across the inlet.
After his posing session at the Center for Birds of Prey Photography Day this Yellow-billed Kite had an opportunity to fly.
Kites catch thier prey, mostly insects, by snatching from the air with their feet. This requires a lot of swooping and circling to get higher off the ground.
The Center’s birds are fed and according to the handler will not seek out food during flying demonstrations, returning to the handler for the reward of food. This particular Kite seemed to enjoy his time in the air, circling around the demonstration field over the row of photographers several times.
Yellow-billed Kite, Milvus aegyptius
The Center for Birds of Prey offers photographers an opportunity to take close-up photographs of owls and other birds of prey a few times a year.
The Center for Birds of Prey, Photography Day, April 22, 2018, Awanda, SC.
I’d been watching the nest with three Great Blue Heron chicks off and on for a half hour and one of the chicks was getting more adventurous.
The other two were content with their wingercizing but this one was thinking about the big one.
The other two looked on curiously, but were not interested in joining in.
I looked away to check out some Anhinga chick squawking and it had happened! I couldn’t spot him at first, expecting that he’d have gone to the right. Instead he had flapped up to a branch about 15 feet away.
This got his siblings’ attention and they gave him the once over when he returned to the nest a few minutes later.
Anhingas fish by swimming underwater and spearing their prey. They then need to air dry and are often seen with their wings fully spread. This one must have young to feed as he bypassed the usual process.
After he pulled himself out of the water, he took very little time to dry. He held the fish in his beak and worked his way up the stick.
Once airborne he had to really work it to get to the island about 50 feet (16 meters) away. I wasn’t sure he was going to make it; twice his wings dipped into the water.
He did make it, and disappeared into the island underbrush with his catch.