Category Archives: Shore Bird

Hooded Mergansers

These were taken in a small inlet in (?) Georgia. We have stopped there several times. However, I am not the navigator. Not even close. The trail blazer, country person, in the family gets us there.

Hooded Mergansers
Hooded Mergansers

We usually find something interesting each time, last week it was Mergansers. Photos here are dark since there was a light rain at the time.

Hooded Mergansers
Hooded Mergansers

There were several decent size groups. I tried to get as many in a single frame as possible.

Hooded Mergansers
Hooded Mergansers

Somewhere in Georgia, or maybe northern Florida, but not yet South Carolina, definitely not Iowa.

Coots !!!

These strange sociable little critters may take over the marshes some day. It seemed like every body of open water had a covering of Coots. I’d never thought that many would be in the same place.

Coots !!!
Coots !!!
Coots !!!
Coots !!

Personally I really enjoy them. When they form a ‘raft’ and play follow the leader it’s like a few hundred (thousand) in a Conga Line.

While they are very similar to the Gallinule, running away screaming loudly is not their way. They just talk. To each other, to other birds they pass, or just to themselves. When you get a marsh full it’s a constant noise.

Coots !!!
Coots !!!

In some parts of the south Coots are known as Mud Hens.

Early Morning Marsh Scene

Finally getting back to publishing on the site again.

A morning marsh scene seemed to be the best way to get started.

Best viewed large.

Early Morning Marsh Scene
Early Morning Marsh Scene

In flight is a large flock of White Ibis. The swimming birds are American Coots. From what we found huddled in these Mid Florida marshlands the Coots are having a good year.

Marsh Residents

While out in the ACE Basin and Wildlife Management Areas the other day most all the locals, us included, were out soaking up the warm sun. Just the day before we actually had ice!

While my preference of shooting is to capture a sequence of photographs I did slow down to (almost) single shots for a time. The following are a few random photos from the morning.

First here is a single Roseate Spoonbill, preening of course. He was part of a small group, maybe 6, however the others were tucked in the brush sleeping through the warmth.

Marsh Residents
Marsh Residents

Below are several locals around first light. The golden hour goes overboard when it shines on the gold winter reeds. There were a few Spoonbills just waking on the left, a Great Egret hunched over getting warm, and Gallinules already swimming about.

Marsh Residents
Marsh Residents

Here are the resident Turkey Vultures sleeping in. They weren’t there long. Once the sun hits open water the warm thermals make it easy for them to fly and glide off for the day. Not very pretty, but masters of flight.

Marsh Residents
Marsh Residents

Last here are the winter vacationers. I think they should be around until February. However, they will change marshes unless the dike trunks are open keeping a large flow of water, and fish. White Pelicans feed in groups, lines of predators eating everything in their path. A large group, like we now have, can deplete the food source fairly quick.

Marsh Residents
Marsh Residents

Shooting at a slower rate, even for just an hour or so, makes a big difference. I don’t fill a card as quick. Also less work digging through images, but I know there were some action sequences I just watched go by. 😂

Found In A Local Marsh

Three locals we found the other day when finally out with no freezing winds. For the last few days wildlife has been plentiful and cooperative.

The first shots taken here were of White Ibis right at the beginning of a big dike. Like they were waiting for us.

Found In A Local Marsh
Found In A Local Marsh

Below we found Great Egrets where the marsh grass started. And, close to the Ibis.

Found In A Local Marsh
Found In A Local Marsh

The last photo here is a Tricolored Heron, still close to the others.

It’s about a two mile walk around the old Magnolia rice field here, we hadn’t gone more than a few hundred yards for these birds.

Found In A Local Marsh
Found In A Local Marsh

Disclaimer here;  this is not how it works. There are times you can walk the full dike and get only a few opportunities.

 

Anhinga Fishing

It’s not very big, but he was catching enough for a meal in the swamp waters. It’s was not deep, and of course muddy yet there were fish (and critters).

You can barely see this catch.

Anhinga Fishing
Anhinga Fishing

Below he flipped it in the air, caught then swallowed. He made sure it was head first to avoid any sharp gills.

Anhinga Fishing
Anhinga Fishing

Anhinga and Cormorants are similar species. A Cormorant has a hooked bill and dives in deeper clear water. It can be salt water. Cold doesn’t bother them much, they are common in the northern US.

Anhinga dive for fish also. However they spear prey with a sharp beak. Swamps/marshes are their preferred territory, not salt water. They are also a tropical South American bird that has moved up to the Lowcountry. They can tolerate cold for a short period.

Anhinga Fishing
Anhinga Fishing

They do well in swamps because they are very aggressive. The only real danger to them are the Alligators.

Photographed in a smaller local swamp, Magnolia Plantation property.

White Ibis In A Swamp

I followed a few Ibis in a local swamp. You could say it was an exercise in patience. Grass, trees, and of course shadows make getting an open shot next to impossible.

White Ibis In A Swamp
White Ibis In A Swamp

Ellen had been following them first, I was back a bit and probably waited a little too long.

White Ibis In A Swamp
White Ibis In A Swamp
White Ibis In A Swamp
White Ibis In A Swamp

When I did get light it was for a moment, and pretty nice.