Tag Archives: Bird Photography

Rice Field And White Pelicans

The last few days and articles have been Brown Pelicans for the most part.

The nice thing about the Lowcountry is you can go a little into the marshes and you now have the White Pelicans. Much bigger than the Browns. These birds spend the winter here.

Rice Field And White Pelicans
Rice Field And White Pelicans

Above is part of a flock that has been in the rice fields for a few weeks. The number of birds varies and can be as little as a few dozen up to 200. The very large flocks make a point of staying off in the hard to reach locations.

ACE Basin, South Carolina.

Along A Santee Delta Marsh, Eagle (2)

Previously I had written about boating in the delta marshes with the most common birds being Bald Eagles. This is another set taken as we moved along the South Santee River.

Along A Santee Delta Marsh, Eagle (2)
Along A Santee Delta Marsh, Eagle (2)

Above is the an example of the typical Eagle sighting as we moved up river. Sitting high above the shore and giving us no sign he gave us a single thought. Not surprising since this is a pretty remote area.

Along A Santee Delta Marsh, Eagle (2)
Along A Santee Delta Marsh, Eagle (2)

You can’t spot that many without getting a little lucky. Above is another bird, closer and in some rare southern fall colors.

Along A Santee Delta Marsh, Eagle (2)
Along A Santee Delta Marsh, Eagle (2)

However, this Eagle moved on as we drifted by.

Along A Santee Delta Marsh, Eagle (2)
Along A Santee Delta Marsh, Eagle (2)

There were several others further up river in the tree line where he flew off to. It’s nesting time so one was likely a mate.

Santee Delta, South Carolina.

Wave Riders (2), Pelicans

These photographs are a few more from the heavy wave and surge we experienced during the last days of the King Tides.

These were taken after sunrise, yet the groups of Pelicans continued moving around.

Wave Riders (2), Pelicans
Wave Riders (2), Pelicans

It appeared any of the flocks coming up from the south, my right, just banked into the shore catching winds almost at surface level.

After gaining speed they again turned to follow the shoreline. We were in a perfect spot, thanks to Ellen’s planning, to photograph the morning flocks.

Wave Riders (2), Pelicans
Wave Riders (2), Pelicans

Litchfield, South Carolina.

Pelican Dive Trick

The previous article (click here to view) mentions how these birds survive constant head first dives to catch prey. These photographs show the simple technique in action.

Pelican Dive Trick
Pelican Dive Trick

Above the Pelican starts a slow, and rather lazy for one, shallow dive.

Aiming for the fish the bird turns his body, and head slightly during the dive.

Pelican Dive Trick
Pelican Dive Trick
Pelican Dive Trick
Pelican Dive Trick

Just above you can see the head turn right before hitting the water.

Pelican Dive Trick
Pelican Dive Trick

Now you can see the force as the Pelican hits the surface.

Younger Pelicans practice this dive by doing small ‘crash landings’ over and over when learning to fly.

The photos here are not award winning quality but they do show another amazing rewarding scene we can catch as wildlife photographers.

So much better than sitting in an office.

Fishing, Brown Pelican Style

Brown Pelican are shore birds, but when the tide is right they will move into deeper salt marshes.

Unlike their white relatives these guys dive from above to catch fish. In the ocean it’s from high up. Salt marshes they can work closer to the water… less wear and tear on the head !

Fishing, Brown Pelican Style
Fishing, Brown Pelican Style

Above I caught a younger bird just as he spotted a fish below.

Fishing, Brown Pelican Style
Fishing, Brown Pelican Style

Then it’s lock eyes on the prey…

Fishing, Brown Pelican Style
Fishing, Brown Pelican Style

grab it head first.

Brown Pelican have a trick, and adaptation, to avoid a broken ‘head’. Their throat is slightly off center and they always turn their head to the right last minute.

 

Got Ya, Cormorant

He was having a hard time with this catch. Maybe it was a little big, and little more feisty than anticipated.

Got Ya, Cormorant
Got Ya, Cormorant
Got Ya, Cormorant
Got Ya, Cormorant

This was just one of many Cormorants fishing close to my chosen spot. I was on a causeway separating salt marshes, no real place to roam.

Got Ya, Cormorant
Got Ya, Cormorant

I planted roots in one spot for a while. It worked out since there was plenty of activity.

 

Pink In A Rice Field, Spoonbill

Taken in the old rice fields in Donnelley WMA, South Carolina.

It wasn’t that long ago Roseate Spoonbills were never seen this far north. Southern Florida and the Keys were the only places outside Central and South America.

Pink In A Rice Field, Spoonbill
Pink In A Rice Field, Spoonbill

Most likely a combination of climate change and the need for new habitat moved them here.

Pink In A Rice Field, Spoonbill
Pink In A Rice Field, Spoonbill

They many shift a bit south in January, but they are back the end of February, early March.

ACE Basin, South Carolina.