A Turkey Vulture swooped right over me with his distinctive “wing fingers” fully extended. I love to see these vultures in flight, they are exceptionally graceful and agile in the air.
Well actually, a maple leaf or two, but they did obscure this Red-shouldered Hawk’s belly. I spotted him because of the contrast in color.
He was looking all around as another RSH was calling across the swamp. He was pretty content in his semi-enclosed spot.
If I hadn’t seen the Barred Owl fly up into this tree I might have walked by without noticing him. He sure saw me. It was a spot I’ve passed many times but never seen much happening. Rather dark with a heavy tree canopy, it’s not far from the bamboo area where a juvenile has been learning to hunt. I looked around to see if junior was here too, but didn’t spot him. Or maybe this was him, all grown up—it happens fast.
This branch didn’t seem like it would be sturdy enough to hold up the Mississippi Kite. It bounced a couple of times and the bird took off.
He didn’t go far, made a u-turn, and landed back in the same place.
As I rounded the corner of the pond I could hear an Osprey calling, and finally spotted him perched with a view of the pond and river beyond.
Then I saw what he was calling about: Bald Eagle on a fast approach. All the other birds I had seen as I approached were gone.
The Eagle landed a few trees over from the Osprey.
The Osprey wasn’t interested in any competition and buzzed the Eagle.
I thought the Eagle would stand his ground — but I guess he wasn’t interested in a rumble right then.
I didn’t see the Eagle again; the Osprey made a few menacing laps around the pond with his claws out, ready for something!
We’ve been seeing a few Swallow-tailed Kites around, including one flying over our house last week, so I wasn’t surprised to spot a group of 10 or 15 circling over one of the marshes this morning.
These raptors feed by snatching insects, often dragonflies, out of the air or off their perch on a tree or reed.
Their flight skills are just amazing and they make full use of their tail and wings to swoop and dive.
A mix of Swallow-tailed Kites, Mississippi Kites, and few terns were working this area.
This Barred Owl sat quietly with his catch, a Five-lined Skink, a common lizard in South Carolina.
After squeezing it with his beak for a bit he transferred it to his talon. You can see the tail dangling below the branch in this next image.
I didn’t see any sign of life in the lizard, but the owl kept a firm hold for six or seven minutes before flying off with it.
Looking a little worse for the wear this Bard Owl was drying out after a rain
Way up in a pine tree this fuzzy Barred Owl Owlet was drying off after a downpour.
One of his parents was over by the bamboo pond; I did not spot the other, but don’t doubt it was nearby.
Based on previous year’s experience we’ll soon be seeing junior closer to the pond to get hunting lessons.
It was dark under the canopy of an aged Live Oak tree. The Red-shouldered Hawk didn’t seem to mind as he looked around.
A few long -ago broken off limbs provided a perch with good visibility for the hawk.
Taken May 12, 2019
Sony Alpha 6500 with 55-210 MM lens at 210 MM.