Tag Archives: Birds in Flight

Black-crowned Night Heron in Flight

Sometimes you are in just the right spot.

Black-crowned Night Heron in Flight
Black-crowned Night Heron in Flight

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.

Black-crowned Night Heron in Flight
Black-crowned Night Heron in Flight

Black-crowned Night-heron Over the Pond

Disrupted from his hunting spot this Black-crowned Night-heron took a flight out over the pond.

Black-crowned Night-heron
Black-crowned Night-heron

This was about a half hour after sunrise, with a golden glow on the heron and the pond.

Black-crowned Night-heron
Black-crowned Night-heron

He opted to land in the “spoonie” tree, so named by photographers because the Roseate Spoonbills like to congregate there.

Black-crowned Night-heron
Black-crowned Night-heron

On this morning a single Anhinga was defending his spot.

Black-crowned Night-heron
Black-crowned Night-heron

Tern: Working His Water Exit

Royal Tern, wings out of the water:

Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water
Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water

One strong down wing beat:

Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water
Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water

Pulling up out of the water:

Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water
Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water

A second strong down wing beat:

Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water
Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water

The fish catch held in his beak is sticking out on either side of the tern’s body:

Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water
Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water

A third beat of the wings and tern is fully away from the water with his lunch flapping:

Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water
Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water

This series was over in two seconds.

Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water
Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water

Tern: Will Turn for Food

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.

Royal Tern Hovering
Royal Tern Hovering

The terns were constantly turning their heads and changing direction. When they spot a fish in the water they hover.

Royal Tern Hovering
Royal Tern Hovering

Then dive!

Royal Tern Diving
Royal Tern Diving

They go completely under water.

Tern Under Water
Tern Under Water

And if all goes well, come up with a fish!

Royal Tern with Fish
Royal Tern with Fish

Up and away!

Royal Tern with Fish
Royal Tern with Fish

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.

Into the Blue

The sun had just come up and the sky’s color reflected in this pond was quite blue. A Great Blue Heron that had been wading in the corner of the pond made an elegant low flight to the other side.

Great Blue Heron Flying over Pond
Great Blue Heron Flying over Pond

The heron didn’t seem happy and squawked the entire way, perhaps aware of the Bald Eagle in the tree above his starting point.

Great Blue Heron Flying over Pond
Great Blue Heron Flying over Pond

Great Blue Heron Taking Off

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.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

One strong beat of his wings and he was on his way.

Great Blue Heron in Flight
Great Blue Heron in Flight

He disappeared down the canal with a big squawk, staying close to the water.

Great Blue Heron in Flight
Great Blue Heron in Flight

Click on any image for larger view.

Great Egret Take Off

I remain fascinated by how elegantly the large wading birds fly. This Great Egret was surveying the marsh from the top of a tree.

Great Egret Posing in Tree
Great Egret Posing in Tree

He picked his direction and with one step and a flap of his wings he was off.

Great Egret Ready for Takeoff
Great Egret Ready for Takeoff

Unlike some of the other large birds, the Great Egrets’ wings are nearly silently when they take off so unless you are watching you don’t even know they are gone.

Great Egret In Flight
Great Egret In Flight

7/3/2018 Donnelley Wildlife Management Area

Green Heron

The Green Heron from Saturday’s post fished awhile then took off for more private quarters.

Green Heron Flies Away
Green Heron Flies Away

He wasn’t going very fast and he rounded the tree that up until a month ago was full of juvenile Great Egrets.

Green Heron Flies Away
Green Heron Flies Away

Green Herons are generally shy, and as expected he landed in a spot that was partly shielded from my view, which he had all to himself.

Green Heron Hiding in Spanish Moss
Green Heron Hiding in Spanish Moss

Great Egret Landing

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.

Great Egret Landing Over Alligator
Great Egret Landing Over Alligator

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.

Great Egret Landing
Great Egret Landing

He finally touched down with a flourish surrounded by lush green swamp vegetation.

Great Egret Landing
Great Egret Landing