Tag Archives: Raptors

Red-shouldered Hawk

With no leaves on the trees the Red-shouldered Hawks are easy to spot when they are around the edges of the swamp. Their red-orange color palette and size stand out even when they aren’t moving.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

After first seeing this one I was able to get an unobstructed view from a little further along the trail.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

He appeared to be looking for a snack as he studied the ground.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

After about 20 minutes he flexed his wings and I expected him to fly, hoping it would be left to right in front of me.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

Not to be, he settled in facing the other way.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

Turtle, It’s What’s For Lunch

I saw this Red-shouldered Hawk standing on the ground at the side of a pond and approached slowly. Other times I’ve seen them do this the bird was squeezing his next meal, but I didn’t see any food here.

Red-shouldered Hawk with Turtle
Red-shouldered Hawk with Turtle

Afterwards, when I zoomed in on what I thought was a tree root or Cypress knee, it turned out to be a turtle standing on its end.

Who knew a Red-shouldered Hawk could lift so much?He didn’t struggle at all and disappeared into the woods with his catch

Red-shouldered Hawk with Turtle
Red-shouldered Hawk with Turtle

I don’t know what made the hawk take off; I was standing still and the only human in view.

These were taken with the Sony Alpha 6500 which uses an electronic viewfinder, not the best arrangement for images of birds in flight due to the lag time.

Sony Alpha 6500, Sony 55-210 mm, at 210 mm.

Eagle Fishing in Pond

The Bald Eagles were active November 17 at Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, partly due to a fish die off. I previously shared a series of an Eagle Fishing in the Canal from that morning. These single shots were taken in the same area.

Bald Eagle Fishing
Bald Eagle Fishing, Great Egret in Foreground

The Eagles ignored the Alligators and the Vultures ignored the Eagles.

Bald Eagle Fishing
Bald Eagle Fishing, Turkey Vulture on the dike

Great Egrets mostly ignored the Eagles, too, feeling no threat on this day. A large group of Ibis left in a panic during one of the Eagle fly overs.

Bald Eagle Fishing
Bald Eagle Fishing

Red-shouldered Hawk

There are a number of Red-shouldered Hawks around the swamps I frequent.  I often hear them call, and this day I finally spotted one on an open branch. I thought he was about to fly after displaying the rousing behavior.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

Instead he settled in and called some more. I’ve observed Red-shouldered Hawks make a lot of noise like this before when they appear to be hunting, as contrary as it seems. All potential prey should be driven into hiding.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

I moved to a vantage point on a perpendicular trail just in time to see him fly off.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

He didn’t go far and continued his calling.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

Osprey With Catch

I had seen a splash up the river where I was watching the Dolphins and thought it might be a strand feeding I had missed. Turns out it was an Osprey using his skills to get lunch!

Osprey with Fish
Osprey with Fish

I was quite surprised when he flew right passed me and continued out to the edge of the ocean where he landed to eat.

Osprey in Flight with Fish
Osprey in Flight with Fish

I had expected him to turn inland and find a tree and some cover. There had been several Pelicans watching him fish and an Eagle flying over–just a couple of characters that would be happy to take his meal away.

Osprey with Fish
Osprey with Fish on Beach

Bald Eagle Majesty

Sunday morning we saw at least seven Bald Eagles between two wildlife management areas we visited. I’m always in awe when I see one; their size and regal bearing when they sit is impressive and their flight skills are extraordinary.

This first one was likely watching the sunrise with us. We were hoping he was going to fish for breakfast in the pond in front of us, but after a half hour of waiting we moved on with him still sitting right there.

Bald Eagle in Pine Tree
Bald Eagle in Pine Tree

This utility pole sits at one end of the Bennets Point Road bridge over the Ashepoo River. From this vantage point the Eagle can see a vast area of river and marshland stretching at least a mile (1.6 KM) east and west.

Bald Eagle on Utility Post
Bald Eagle on Utility Post

Juvenile Black Vulture

As we approached the turnaround on one of the dikes in the wildlife management area we were visiting a juvenile Black Vulture stood in the middle of the road. Unfortunately he showed no fear of our car or us and only hopped along a few feet.

Ted finally got out of the car to gently urge him out of the driveway and he flapped/hopped up onto the gate, allowing me to turn the car without worrying about hitting him.

Juvenile Black Vulture
Juvenile Black Vulture

His still fuzzy head and hopping rather than flying identifies him as a juvenile. We walked around the opposite end of the gate and went on our way.

Juvenile Black Vulture
Juvenile Black Vulture

When we returned twenty minutes later he had relocated to the other end of the gate.

Juvenile Black Vulture
Juvenile Black Vulture

Quite regal looking, he ignored us as we passed back by and I saw him still there in the rear-view mirror as we drove away.

Juvenile Black Vulture
Juvenile Black Vulture

Barred Owl in Bamboo Grove

A pair of Barred Owls frequents the pond near this stand of bamboo looking for food. This owl had just had an unsuccessful attempt to catch a noisy bullfrog.

Barred Owl on Bamboo
Barred Owl on Bamboo

The bullfrog stopped his song but the owl flew away with nothing in his talons. The owl chose a spot with a good view of the pond to watch and listen for his next opportunity.

Barred Owl on Bamboo
Barred Owl on Bamboo

Native bamboo was grown on the plantations in South Carolina to create natural barriers to help keep livestock in and keep predators out. Today it makes a beautiful addition to some of the area gardens and museum properties.