A number of wading birds have returned to this marsh area in the last few weeks. The numbers of Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons had gone down to just one or two that were easy to see the last few times I was here.
Today a half dozen of both the Great Blues and Egrets were in and out of a canal area that is conducive to full body photos.
The reeds that make up most of the marsh are slowly sinking as winter progresses, making it a little easier to see birds approaching and where they land.
The Great Blue Herons have arrived at the Audubon Swamp Rookery and wasted no time fixing up their nests and getting ready for their next brood.
They did take some breaks for displays of affection.
The males gather most of the nest material and the females spend quite a bit of time arranging it. This pair was relatively quiet, but others in the rookery did a lot of squawking as they worked on their nests.
Not classic Heron poses, and leaning toward the comical, this Great Blue kept me entertained for quite awhile on a recent afternoon. These shots reminded me of some people I know that are reluctant to have their picture taken.
First we take care of the itch.
Then a few vocal protests.
What’s a photo shoot without a photo bomb?
Finally, settled for the pose, neck tucked back down looking like a scarf in the breeze, a very elegant result.
Interesting that the black patches are much more pronounced in the Great Blue Herons around Magnolia Plantation the last few weeks.
A number of Great Blue Herons posed in and out of the old rice fields adjacent to the Ashley River last week. The reeds, weeds and bushes along the edge are starting to show that end of summer droop and a hint of color changes.
This Heron was performing what appeared to be a cooling ritual with panting type breathing and his wings at bent angle.
We have moved to South Carolina just in time to see the end of the nesting season at the Magnolia Plantation rookeries. Little Blue Herons feed their young, which are nearly as big as the adults, in an awkward, wing flapping, spectacle.
These Great Egrets were resting quietly in the heat of the day. Their nest doesn’t look like it will hold them in as the alligators patrol in the swamp below.
I heard some jaw snapping but didn’t see this gator get a meal. They are moving much faster than when we visited this area over the winter.