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.
On a recent visit to Bear Island Wildlife Management area a few small flocks of American Avocets were feeding in some of the shallow impoundments. The one on the left below with the pretty brown head is displaying breeding colors while the white one on the right is non-breeding.
Several Bald Eagles are nesting in the area and one had just had an unsuccessful dive at the other end of this impoundment. When the Eagle soared over the Avocets took off in a panic.
Once in the air they tried to group together.
The Eagle didn’t pursue them but they didn’t wait around to find out.
This is the tree the Red-shouldered Hawk first chose when he first left the open area with his frog lunch. He was much more protected than on the ground but I could tell he was still uneasy as at least two other Hawks were calling nearby.
He took to the air again and I thought I had seen the last of him. I turned the other way back towards the end of the pond to watch the herons and heard a kerfuffle of wings and squawking off to my right.
I’m not quite sure what happened next as my view was obstructed, but soon the Hawk with the frog changed direction again. You can see a third Hawk in the tree in the background between the tail and wing of Hawk One below.
He went on his way without being followed and presumably finished the frog in peace.