This is the ‘in between’ season for wildlife in the Lowcountry. The bigger birds, like Great Blues, Eagles, and other raptors, are considering or slowly starting nesting.
For us this time means the marshes have active feeding, the swamps some birds shopping the best nest sites. These Herons are near the rivers, marshes, but rookeries are a mile or two in the nearby swamps.
In short something should be around to photograph.
I think these shots may be some of my favorite of the White Pelican.
Mosquito Creek is a large, and long, body of water on the Yawke wildlife property. Being along the Winyah Bay Estuary it draws a gazillion (technical term) migrating White Pelicans.
When we first walked the edge of the creek a large group of birds took flight heading to the other side of the water. I don’t think a better spot could have been found for these photographs.
With a wing span close to 10 feet (3 meters) you can imagine how loud a group is when taking flight as a group. Water flies everywhere.
There were enough in the flock that I could get the first shots and still back up and move to grab a wider images when the stragglers took off. White Pelicans are too big for an immediate lift off, I panned as they pushed from the left slowly gaining height.
The birds here are rarely around by humans once they arrive. This is a protected barrier island owned, and managed, in a unique arrangement. The land was ‘gifted’ to the South Carolina Dept. of Natural Resources. However, there are strings attached. The Yawke foundation provides for all the expenses. From salaries of rangers, equipment, and research grants. Each year the property is audited to ensure the conservation, privacy, and protection is following the ‘gifts’ guidelines.
You cannot access the island property without prior arrangements, and will be escorted around by a DNR ranger (who happens to be bird a bird photographer). Also there are a number of visit ‘types’. It’s like an unwritten rule you visit and attend a few general visits before being on one of the more ‘open’ trips in the field.
Like many of our locals they are a tropical bird (South America) that has moved north. I have just found some of their regional names; “flinthead”, “stonehead”, “ironhead”, “gourdhead”, and “preacher”.