Tag Archives: Magnolia Plantation

Anhinga Pair Nesting

Busy working on their nest at the end of the day this Anhinga pair was a challenge to photograph due to the low light. I used Dfine 2 to reduce the noise, hoping to keep the wing detail.


The male brought Spanish Moss and branches for nesting materials


Practically condo living,  all this activity is  just below an active Great Blue Heron nest. The GBH neighbors are mostly tolerant, but occasionally sqwak  over the side of their higher perch.

Anhinga Pair Nesting

Magnolia Plantation Audubon Swamp Rookery, 2/13 & 2/14 2017,

Wood Duck

A few Wood Ducks have been around the ponds at Magnolia Gardens over the last month. With the males’ color scheme they are easy to pick out in a crowd of ducks. That and they are usually retreating faster than the rest, having been aware of a human before you spot them.

Wood Duck

This day they were gathered at the far end of the big pond. I waited at an opening in the brush for them to edge their way closer.


Back and forth, I finally got a couple of shots without too much glare on the water.

Last Light at the Rookery

The water was still and the reflections sharp as the sun went down.


Birds that had been squabbling an hour before managed to settle in as darkness approached. I’d like to know how much of that goes on after dark, but I’m not sure I’m brave enough to stay.


Another pond with wonderful reflections on the way back to the car.


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Meanwhile, In Other News

Not all the Great Blue Herons around Magnolia Plantation’s gardens  and swamps are currently engaged in mating activity; maybe they are too young or too old. We see them around the swamp doing their thing: mostly wading and fishing.


This one made a lovely reflection as he seemed to be reflecting on what to do next.

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Great Blue Heron Mama on Her Own

Between their courtship activities the male flies off for either food or more nesting materials. Sometimes the female tries out the nest.

Great Blue Heron on Nest

Then makes an announcement.


These were taken just before sun down on February 2. The light was low but the highlights of the breeding plumage kept enticing me to take more shots.


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White Ibis

I usually end up discarding any photographs I take of White Ibis: they are dirty with gobs of mud hanging off them, they are surrounded by mud without so much as a blade of grass to add to the composition, they are dirty…you get the picture.

White Ibis

A group of 5 or 6 surprised me in a beautiful pine tree hanging over the trail, looking pretty clean.

White Ibis

They flew up there when one of the local Red-shouldered Hawks was cruising the area.

Red-shouldered Hawk

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Great Blue Heron Mating Behaviors

Part of the Great Blue Heron mating ritual is building the nest. The male brings sticks to the nest and they both arrange and re-arrange. Here he has just returned with a stick that was well received. I have seen sticks get rejected and the male take it to a different female.

Great Blue Heron

I caught this pair from a bad light angle as he flew back and forth to a nearby tree line for branches. I moved into a better position and he flew off again.


I waited from this better spot,  watching her work on the nest, but he didn’t return in the twenty minutes I stood there.


Heron Rookery, Magnolia Plantation Audubon Swamp, 2/1/2017.

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Blue-winged Teal Pair

I was sitting on a bench at the edge of the swamp watching a Great Blue Heron when this pair of Blue-winged Teals swam by.


The pair mostly stayed together, only rarely separating for a solo photograph.


The Great Blue Heron can easily see over the vegetation, watching for lunch as more Teals swam behind him.


The Teal pair quickly did a U-turn when the open water ended near where the Heron stood and went back where they came from.


Magnolia Plantation Audubon Swamp, Charleston, SC.

Turtles Extreme Posing

On Sunday I posted photos of turtles posing on an Alligator ramp and logs to sun themselves out of the water. Yesterday in the same spot an Alligator was using a turtle as a head rest and more turtles were clambering to join the group.


Further along in a different pond a similar activity was taking place with a much larger Alligator, only this time the turtles were on top.


Do they have no suspicion that they might be lunch?


We returned by this spot about an hour and a half later to find the Alligator had changed position but at least one free-loader was still in place.


The nature guide at Magnolia Garden identifies these turtles as Yellow-bellied Sliders.

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Great Blue Heron: Foggy Morning

This Great Blue Heron was speaking to its mate on a recent foggy morning at the rookery.

Great Blue Heron

No one came so he/she took a trip around the pond, returning to repeat the ritual. I had my shutter speed set too low to get any flight shots.


The Great Blue Heron’s neck feathers were on full display to help with mate attraction.

Great Blue Heron

Most of the pairs and singles were quiet by their nests for the hour we were there, seen below. There were a few Anhinga in the tree, too.

Great Blue Heron Rookery

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Magnolia Plantation Heron Rookery, January 16, 2017.