Great Blue Heron chicks have started to hatch around the rookery and Tuesday I spotted one in a high nest sticking his head up.
The first few days the adults will tear food apart and give it to their chicks. As the chicks grow, which happens pretty quickly, the adult dangles food in front of the chicks encouraging them to grab their own meal.
Either this chick couldn’t figure out how to get a bite of frog or wasn’t hungry, but after a minute or so the chick lost his chance.
It took a minute or so of concentrated effort, but the adult ate the frog in one bite.
This was a tiny meal for an Anhinga and I have no idea how they locate such a fish while swimming under water. See my post Anhinga Feeding from two years ago to see how big a fish they are capable of swallowing.
Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are named for their behavior of drilling small holes in trees then drinking the sap that runs into the wells. They get most of their food that way but also feed on insects they find under tree bark.
I’ve seen them peck at bark, mostly on the rough-barked trees and was surprised to see this one bobbing into a tree cavity. He was just about disappearing from my view as he reached in.
I didn’t see what, if anything, the Sapsucker was finding, but he kept at it for longer than I watched.
I saw this Red-shouldered Hawk standing on the ground at the side of a pond and approached slowly. Other times I’ve seen them do this the bird was squeezing his next meal, but I didn’t see any food here.
Afterwards, when I zoomed in on what I thought was a tree root or Cypress knee, it turned out to be a turtle standing on its end.
Who knew a Red-shouldered Hawk could lift so much?He didn’t struggle at all and disappeared into the woods with his catch
I don’t know what made the hawk take off; I was standing still and the only human in view.
These were taken with the Sony Alpha 6500 which uses an electronic viewfinder, not the best arrangement for images of birds in flight due to the lag time.
I’ve watched several Forster’s Terns the last few times I’ve been to the rice field impoundment. They are incredibly acrobatic in flight, twisting and turning, then swooping down to the water to go after small fish.
They are quite striking birds, even in non-breeding plumage. When they’ve make the turn and loop back for another run at the pond is the best opportunity to photograph them.
And did I mention they are fast? This is the best I got this day for a dive.
If they pick up a small fish with their feet they quickly pass it to their mouth and down the hatch it goes.
The rice field impoundments and canals were busy last Saturday morning including a Bald Eagle that was scooping up fish. There had been a die-off over night, likely due to a sudden temperature drop to near freezing.
The Great Egrets went about their business without any fuss.
I was quite a distance from the action but it was cool to see a few Eagles swooping over the Great Egrets and Alligators.
This trio of Dolphins charged the beach head on instead of from the side as I’ve usually seen.
The Dolphin on the left was hanging on tight to his catch.
As they continued to chase the fish herded to the water’s edge the Dolphin in the middle got a fish.
I didn’t notice it at the time, but a juvenile Dolphin was watching from a safe distance. I wonder if the Dolphin on the left was holding this catch to feed the youngster or if he/she was just too busy getting back in the water.
Later that morning I did see the mother and juvenile working the shore in what looked like teaching of the water swirling methods.