Tag Archives: Nesting

Bird Rookery

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.

Bird Rookery
Bird Rookery

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.

Bird Rookery
Bird Rookery

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.

Bird Rookery
Bird Rookery, Sign: “Island Closed – Do Not Come Ashore”

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.

See my previous post Brown Pelican Chicks for a closer look at five chicks.

Squirrel Gathering Building Material

While waiting for the Prothonotary Warbler on Knee to emerge from its nest cavity I heard an odd scraping noise. This squirrel was peeling bark off a tree.

Squirrel
Squirrel with Tree Bark

He kept pulling and stuffing it in his mouth. The strands seemed very pliable, good material to welcome baby squirrels.

Squirrel
Squirrel

Hey, I’m beeing watched!

Squirrel
Squirrel

Then he balled it all up in his mouth and scooted around the other side of the tree where I lost sight of him.

Squirrel
Squirrel

Prothonotary Warbler on Knee

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.

Prothonotary Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler

May 7, 2019.

GBH Chick Wingercizing

After checking that the danger had passed from the intruding Great Egret the Great Blue Heron chick fluffed his feathers back down to regular size.

Great Blue Heron Chick Wingercizing
Great Blue Heron Chick Wingercizing

Then he took the opportunity to wingercize, flapping his wings in preparation for learning to fly.

Great Blue Heron Chick Wingercizing
Great Blue Heron Chick Wingercizing

He didn’t lift off this time, but did do some single wing stretches to complete his work out.

Great Blue Heron Chick Wingercizing
Great Blue Heron Chick Wingercizing

Scram, Great Egret, 2

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.

Great Blue Heron Chick Defending Himself
Great Blue Heron Chick Defending Himself

The chick made himself really big.

Great Blue Heron Chick Defending Himself
Great Blue Heron Chick Defending Himself

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.

Great Blue Heron Chick Defending Himself
Great Blue Heron Chick Defending Himself

The Skinny Tree: A New Use

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.

Great Egret Perched on Dead Tree
Great Egret Perched on Dead Tree

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.

Occupied Skinny Tree
Occupied Skinny Tree, Great Blue Heron nest, Great Egret nest

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.

Occupied Skinny Tree
Occupied Skinny Tree, Great Blue Heron and two Great Egret nests – click image for larger view.