I saw this Great Egret land and expected him to get run off by the occupant of the nest about 8 feet (2 M) above him.
He poked around a bit, and was surprisingly ignored by the Great Egret in the nest.
Suddenly he swooped down to the water…
… and came up with a stick!
After circling around the tree he made a nice landing at the top, delivering the stick to his mate. Turns out he didn’t go far from home for this delivery of nesting material.
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Charleston, SC
March 17, 2021
With his black wing tips in full view a White Ibis flew past me.
Then he pulled up for a landing.
Wings back, he plunged into a tree, not quite the landing I was expecting.
Spotting wildlife is often about subtle contrasts and shapes. The subject’s movement sometimes helps. This Sapsucker flew onto the tree then froze in place.
Looking for the unexpected can help.
Some creatures hardly move, like the Tree Frog, and others, like this warbler, are in perpetual motion so it’s helpful to anticipate their next direction.
Tormentor of this photographer, that is. I often see them at my favorite wildlife management area, but somehow they are always a few wing beats ahead.
I get closer, and just as the the camera is halfway up, zoom…
And sometimes they aren’t Kingfishers at all.
A few Great Egrets were swooping over the pond as they vied for mates or nesting spots in the nearby trees.
Some were gathering sticks for their nests but they were easily distracted when another Great Egret invaded their space.
Occasionally I’ve seen a large Alligator snap at a bird flying overhead without making contact, but these smallish Alligators and turtles ignored the aerial displays going on above them.
Wings fully extended, a Great Egret rounded the small island headed for a mid-tree branch.
In one smooth motion the Egret reached out for a branch…
…and landed gracefully. Only rarely have I seen them miss or falter on a landing like this.
A Wood Stork flew along the edge of the canal, dropping low over the water. That is a Turkey Vulture huddled up on the dike bank.
In an easy looking glide, he slid past a Great Egret before heading into the reeds and out of my sight.
Water levels in the large pond at Magnolia Cemetery are controlled with this screw mechanism connected to a gate that allows water to drain off into the marsh. I’ve often seen Belted Kingfishers that work the pond for food use it as a perch.
The Belted Kingfisher’s loud rattling call often helps you locate one, and I had watched one make several zippy trips across the pond without even getting to lift my camera. I took these from the car as we were leaving.
I got a little closer before another car came and captured this head on view showing off the Kingfisher’s top knot.
I last photographed a Yellow-billed Cuckoo about two years ago. I spotted one last week and recognized him in flight immediately due to his long, thin body.
They prefer woodland and the trees he found most appealing were shiny with highlighted leaves behind him.
He eventually moved to the other side of the path so the sun was shining on him, but didn’t quite get his head out into the light.
He watched patiently presumably for food, often looking up above him, but I didn’t see him even try to catch anything. After a couple minutes in this spot he moved higher and deeper into the tree line.