Ducks have been showing up around the various ponds I frequent and I was hoping for some decent in-flight views. The ducks had other ideas this day and kept their flight patterns close to the marsh grass.
A Great Blue Heron was a little more obliging as he winged past me.
The sun was up but it was a hazy. A Great Blue Heron passed by with a few squawks, putting out his landing gear.
He scored a nice landing.
He only stayed a moment, perhaps rethinking being out in the open. Two Bald Eagles were patrolling the skies, and while the Great Blue would be an unlikely target they are keenly aware of the predators.
This bit of land has newly emerged in one of the old rice fields ponds after a dredging project around the edge. Various wading birds were quick to find it, like this Great Blue Heron on a recent afternoon.
This Great Egret worked hard in the reeds to capture a Siren, a weird eel-like salamander that hangs out in the mud, and flew to a secluded corner of the pond to figure out how to eat it. He dropped and retrieved it several times.
A Great Blue Heron had been following along, slowly getting closer until the Great Egret decided to relocate, taking lunch with him.
Covered with mud, the Great Egret took this opportunity to dunk and rinse his catch.
He took off again as the Great Blue maneuvered closer.
The Great Blue Heron took off, too. They went out of my sight so I don’t know who got to eat.
This section of the canal that runs around an old rice field at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens has recently been dredged and widened. Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Storm Irma in 2017, followed by Hurricane Michael in 2018 all pushed mounds of vegetation debris into this corner making it less attractive to the various wading birds that pass through.
The upturned dirt has started to sprout reeds and a few Great Blue Herons have been hanging out on the edge.
From the closest vantage point the background still looks a bit like a moonscape. It will be interesting to watch how the birds’ habits may change now that this water can freely flow.