A large portion of the marsh behind Botany Bay Beach is cordoned off to keep humans from interfering with breeding shore birds. Their nests are nothing more than depressions in the sand and aside from the obvious egg destruction by human feet many of these birds just don’t like to be disturbed by man or his pets while raising their young.
Breeding season was over when I took these images but a few young stragglers were on the beach on August 4th.
This young tern didn’t seem to know what to do. The sun had just come up and he probably should have been looking for breakfast.
An adult was nearby, but I didn’t see them interact.
This may be the same young bird, I spotted a bit further down the beach.
Since I walked this path a month ago the water has been drained out of the pond behind this Eastern Eastern Kingbird.
Dragonflies were hovering over the mostly dry pond bed and the Kingbird was taking advantage. He had a nice snack of what looked like an Eastern Pondhawk between these two images. Unfortunately swaying reeds on the bank ruined all images of that!
A chick joined the adult calling to be fed. The adult didn’t seem impressed and soon they swooped off together. Time for the juvenile to catch his own lunch.
I’ve stopped to watch Black-bellied Whistling Ducks in this marshy area several times this summer. One day last week a few were quite close to the walk way and were less skittish than on previous visits.
Some of the chicks are nearly adult size but are still sticking close to a parent.
This one had been standing on the end of the of the walkway and decided to join the others…
…landing in the short greenery with the family group behind him.
Brown Pelicans nest on several islands that are really not much more than sand bars off the Charleston, SC coast. Storms and the tides shift the availability and viability of nesting sites from year to year. I had the privileged to observe one of these sites this morning, where the Pelican chicks are out of their nests but not yet flying or getting their own food.
This particular island was re-nourished with sand dredged from the Folly River last year with spectacular results for this year’s nesting Pelicans.
Shore access is not allowed during nesting season; these images were all taken from a boat at a shutter speed of 1/2000th of a second to help compensate for the boat movement.
It was a delightful outing and seeing these Pelican chicks was a real treat. This appears to be two sets of chicks, with the younger group testing out their bills in the water.
The Great Egret chicks waste no time when the adult returns to the nest with food. It’s every chick for himself, and the first order of business is to latch onto the adult’s beak or neck.
The egrets’ necks are very flexible and the chicks know how to encourage the regurgitation of their dinner.
The adult always takes a pause and looks skyward before producing the meal.
Then he bends one more time and one chick opens wide while the other watches.
It was hard to tell if they both got something this trip. The entire maneuver got repeated but they were all moving around so much I lost track of which chick was which.
When the chicks were smaller the adult would supervise and maybe have to do some enticing with the food to get them to eat. Now that they are nearly full-grown the adult quickly moves out of reach of those sharp beaks.
A few wading bird pairs are just now hatching young even as some of the older chicks have fledged. I saw just one tiny chick underneath this female nesting Anhinga–you can just see the head at the lower left of the adult. Some of the other broods this year have had four chicks.
There may be more to come in this nest as the eggs may hatch over several days.
Anhingas feed their young by regurgitating food which the chicks actively retrieve by sticking their heads up the parent’s esophagus. Painful looking, especially when the chicks get bigger.