After only a few sightings over the summer, I’ve seen quite a few Bald Eagles in the last few weeks. This pair was watching a pond below them.
My walking route took me past a nest I know Eagles used last mating season and I wondered if I could even see it. The last time I passed by here the foliage on the lower trees was too thick to get a clear view. Since then a few leaves have dropped, vines have drooped and fortuitously the late afternoon was shining through a gap in the trees, spotlighting the nest.
I’ve checked back on the White-eyed Vireo nest from my June 15th post a few times, and about a week later got a similar image, without the rain.
Two weeks later, the nest was empty. Could chicks have hatched and fledged in that short time? All About Birds says their nestling period is 9 – 11 days, so yes it is possible.
Once I was sure there were no birds in the nest I got closer for a side view. Although a bit shabby looking at the bottom, what an engineering marvel this nest was.
Also from All About Birds:
Males and females build a pendulous nest suspended from a Y-shaped fork. They collect insect silk and spiderweb and attach it to the fork until it makes a lacy shell. They then stick leaves, bark, plant fibers, rootlets, and bits of paper to the spiderweb shell. They also stick lichens, moss, or leaves to the outside for additional camouflage. The female lines the nest with rootlets, fine grass, or hair. It takes the pair around 3–5 days to complete the nest.
Usually I say stick gathering with images of a heron working on nest material. This Yellow-crowned Night-heron was only interested in small twigs, and despite all his efforts I never saw him take anything to the nest.
Ah, maybe this is the one!
No, he dropped that one and poked around for another option.
You can hardly see the twig sticking out of his beak, and after a minute he dropped that one, too.
Luck and being aware of movement play a role in nature photography. I happened to catch this fellow moving and only when I got a little closer and peered around some limbs could I tell it was a Yellow-crowned Night-heron.
I was then surprised to see a nest, with a nice curtain of Spanish Moss on one side and leaves on the other.
There were two adults present and after a bit one of them stepped out for a photograph or two.