This is a Rufous (brown) morph Eastern Screech Owl. There is also a grey morph but he hasn’t shown up yet. Males claim the holes, the female will inspect it and might move in.
They are small and agile, and about 7 to 10 inches tall and have a wingspan around 18 to 24 inches. We knew he was around but some friends we travel with pointed him out yesterday. This bird is invisible. These shots were as close as we would go, they live here, we just visit.
He did what all Screech Owls do, opened one eye to check us out. I have never seen a Screech Owl do anything other than that.
Santee Delta is the largest in the eastern US. There are 6 rivers that ultimately flow through the marsh/swamps here. The delta itself is 450 miles long beginning in North Carolina. Most of the rivers ultimately empty directly into the Atlantic Ocean or through the creeks and bays of the South Carolina coast.
The delta can be rough and rural, but filled with history and incredible numbers of wildlife. In just 3 hours last week we encountered 16 Bald Eagles.
Rice plantations were once spread throughout the region. Creeks and small rivers like in these images were the only method of transportation.
These photographs were taken on the bank of a creek behind an old plantation. I’m not sure they are great viewing on a site like this, but I wanted to show an actual deep marsh scene few people will ever see. Maybe that’s best considering the flying insects bite and are more numerous and larger than you could believe. 😁