It’s easy to overlook the Little Blue Herons around the swamp and pond right now with the flurry of Great Egret and Great Blue Heron mating and nest building going on. Occasionally one will land right in front of you, showing off the shimmery blue color.
This one was looking around, using these dead branches to get different views into the water.
Then just a short flying hop to the next vantage point, the Little Blues are just as graceful as the larger wading birds.
He finally waded into the water creating a nice reflection, but I never saw him even try to spear something to eat.
Duck behavior has a rhythm to it: eat, preen, paddle, splash… then repeat. This Blue-winged Teal added some stretching moves to his paddling that showed off his color.
Occasionally they make a big splash as this trio did, moving about 10 feet down the pond as an alligator raised his head nearby. Reflections from the budding trees on the other side of the pond added some color interest to the water.
No one was hurt and calmness returned almost immediately. The direction and slow movement of this male Teal swimming back up the pond put him in the perfect spot for exposure and reflection.
Not all the Great Blue Herons around Magnolia Plantation’s gardens and swamps are currently engaged in mating activity; maybe they are too young or too old. We see them around the swamp doing their thing: mostly wading and fishing.
This one made a lovely reflection as he seemed to be reflecting on what to do next.
On Sunday I posted photos of turtles posing on an Alligator ramp and logs to sun themselves out of the water. Yesterday in the same spot an Alligator was using a turtle as a head rest and more turtles were clambering to join the group.
Further along in a different pond a similar activity was taking place with a much larger Alligator, only this time the turtles were on top.
Do they have no suspicion that they might be lunch?
We returned by this spot about an hour and a half later to find the Alligator had changed position but at least one free-loader was still in place.
The nature guide at Magnolia Garden identifies these turtles as Yellow-bellied Sliders.