The rookery islands do not rise much above sea level which is one of the reasons the Brown Pelican nests have a low success rate. Over wash from storm driven tides can and has easily wiped out whole colonies on this and other barrier islands.
The bird chaos was amazing with numerous species in addition to the Brown Pelicans using the island. Snowy Egrets, Tricolored Herons, and Laughing Gulls were well represented.
This view is the sea-ward end of the island, with the shore crowded with Brown Pelicans and Laughing Gulls. The island down to the low tide mark is a protected preserve.
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.
I returned to Beidler Forrest one morning this week hoping for another opportunity to see a Prothonotary Warbler or two. I did hear a few high in the tree tops but mostly they eluded me. The promised sun did not materialize, keeping the forest dark.
I did capture this one as it was returning to its nest, which the center staff pointed me to. The nest is down inside that Cypress knee. After a moment the adult dropped into the nest and stayed put for at least the next twenty minutes, likely laying on eggs.
I haven’t photographed this Great Blue Heron nest very often even though it is on the same pond as the others I’ve shown with chicks. The light never seems right or the birds’ position aren’t right. This day was a little different.
Either by instinct or from learning from a parent, this Great Blue Heron chick was defending himself from a Great Egret Intruder. This is the same nest in the Skinny Tree featured in Scram, Great Egret where the GBH adult was protecting his nest.
The chick made himself really big.
I suspect they’ve done this before and shortly the Great Egret went back to poking at sticks on the outer branches of the tree.
The “Skinny Tree” sees lots of wading bird occupants but this is the first time I’ve seen a potential nest builder check out the roof. In fact, the only bird I remember seeing perched on top was a King Fisher.
This Great Egret took a moment to scan the sky as a low airplane passed by. The Skinny Tree is only about 3 miles (5 KM) from Charleston International Airport and Joint Base Charleston so these birds get used to sharing the skies with all sorts of aircraft.
I’m not sure how this next image might display on your various devices due to its height, but wanted to show the levels. The Great Egret was really interested in occupying a nesting site in the trees branches, which are already occupied.
In a broader and lower view I captured the Great Blue Heron driving a Great Egret away as he protected his chick, which can be seen next to the tree trunk behind the adult.