This Black-crowned Night Heron flew over the marsh and then right in front of where Ted and I were standing. I was expecting him to veer off as he got closer as we were right out in the open, but he obliged us with a slow, steady flight.
A few Royal Terns have been coming regularly to one of the old rice field ponds to feed. Terns are extremely skillful flyers and I watched two of them for an entertaining 45 minutes, making loops around the pond and occasionally out over the Ashley River.
The terns were constantly turning their heads and changing direction. When they spot a fish in the water they hover.
They go completely under water.
And if all goes well, come up with a fish!
Up and away!
Interestingly, the two terns then flew together out over the river. They got too far away to tell if the fishless bird was trying to steal the meal or if they were sharing.
After the flying shrimp incident the Great Blue Heron decided it was time to move on. Usually the herons will bend their knees just before lifting off giving the photographer a hint of imminent action and this turned out to be the case.
One strong beat of his wings and he was on his way.
He disappeared down the canal with a big squawk, staying close to the water.
We are seeing more flocks of honking Canada Geese in the sky, a sure sign that fall migrations aren’t far off. These four were part of a flock of about twenty that appeared to be trying to get into formation. They were not successful and ultimately circled noisily back and landed where they started.
Since the juveniles have fledged most of the Great Egret activity at my favorite swamp has been on the far side of the big pond. The water is a little shallower for hunting and I expect harbors a lot of fish. The Alligators, of course, go all over. I didn’t see this one in the Egret’s reflection until I was processing my images.
The distance is too far for really sharp images, but some days that’s all you see. The Great Egret wisely kept moving and then flew over a juvenile Little Blue Heron.
He finally touched down with a flourish surrounded by lush green swamp vegetation.