Tag Archives: South Carolina

Juvenile Spectacled Owl

Owls make the best photographs. Here might be the best of the best. Their eyes are always expressive and clear, in the head shot here you can actually see our reflections.

Juvenile Spectacled Owl - Click To Enlarge
Juvenile Spectacled Owl – Click To Enlarge

Born in the spring of 2016 she still has the white head feathers but old enough to fly and impress me with her claws and silent wings.

Juvenile Spectacled Owl - Click To Enlarge
Juvenile Spectacled Owl – Click To Enlarge
Juvenile Spectacled Owl - Click To Enlarge
Juvenile Spectacled Owl – Click To Enlarge

Born in captivity, she was bred at the Avian Conservation Center in South Carolina. There she will raise her own young and help provide education on the flight of owls.

 

Yellow Rumped Warbler In Marsh Grass

I caught this little bird at an odd angle. All shots were taken from slightly above. Photographing a warbler usually entails leaning way, way, back. They are always up in the trees.

Yellow Rumped Warbler - Click To Enlarge
Yellow Rumped Warbler – Click To Enlarge
Yellow Rumped Warbler - Click To Enlarge
Yellow Rumped Warbler – Click To Enlarge

Click any image below to view the gallery.

Tight grass like this can play havoc with focusing. By default I use a 4 point focus matrix. Here that would not have worked well. A quick change to single point (not pin point) allowed me to track the bird and not include any of the close in marsh grass.

 

Rare Saker Falcon

The population was estimated to be between 7,200 and 8,800 mature individuals in 2004. In the United States there are several captive breeding projects. There are currently several successful breeding projects by falconers in Canada. The most dramatic decline of the saker falcon in Asia has been in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. In contrast, a strongly protected and relatively large population persists in Hungary.

Rare Saker Falcon - Click To Enlarge
Rare Saker Falcon – Click To Enlarge

Bunch A Gators

We started out and right away spotted a mid size alligator floating along. Right behind him, near the deep reeds was another. I commented on how soon we bumped into one.

Anyway, I took a photo of the closer alligator and told my wife I planned on getting a shot of every alligator we saw in the marsh that day.

American Alligator - Click To Enlarge
American Alligator – Click To Enlarge

Here is # 1. Not a shot worth taking or keeping. Usually.

American Alligator - Click To Enlarge
American Alligator – Click To Enlarge

Next came # 2 and he was pretty impressive. Over 11 feet. No one runs over and weighs / measures alligators here. These are wild, and while shy with people, holding a measuring tape might be pushing it.

American Alligator - Click To Enlarge
American Alligator – Click To Enlarge

Here are #3 and #4. Hanging by the reeds in the sun. Probably about the same size as #2. Guess here 10 – 11 feet long. Large females or average males.

American Alligator - Click To Enlarge
American Alligator – Click To Enlarge

Now #5. Decent size, but hard to tell just how big.

American Alligator - Click To Enlarge
American Alligator – Click To Enlarge

#6. Bad photo but I had to take it. I couldn’t get a better shot because, well my 150-500mm lens was too big. This one was laying on the trail bank, head in the shallows. I had walked right up to him when my wife pointed down. I got the shot and moved on. I never would have seen him myself.

I had been told early on if you meet one up close just ignore them and give a little space. They hide very well, so trust me it works.

American Alligator - Click To Enlarge
American Alligator – Click To Enlarge

And #7 was shy. At first she (looked to be smaller adult) slipped into the canal when we walked up the berm. But curious she came up and swam close to watch us. Click to enlarge, another photo where I caught the eye.

American Alligator - Click To Enlarge
American Alligator – Click To Enlarge

I took the shot above just as a point of reference. This is part of the berm we walked. The dark line running across I always refer to as a bicycle track. I watch for them. Except it’s not from a bike, it’s the mark of an alligator tail dragged over the dirt. This one was obvious because it was a spot like a highway between the Ashley River and the marsh.  Hunters always look for deer trails, well same thing here.

A big alligator might weigh 1,000 + pounds. So these trails are like driving a VW beetle on the beach. You’re not going to hide it.

American Alligator - Click To Enlarge
American Alligator – Click To Enlarge

And we have #8 here. The far end of this marsh has 2 sides, with a trail running over a berm separating them. One looks to have been a cane break, the other was rice and reeds.

The cane break is shallow and filled with Gallinule and Moorhens. So #8 sat right in the middle of them of course.

American Alligator - Click To Enlarge
American Alligator – Click To Enlarge

#9 and #10 must have been watching because just 50 feet down the marsh they sat in the middle of a large flock. No wonder there are so many super sized alligators here.

American Alligator - Click To Enlarge
American Alligator – Click To Enlarge

And over at the ‘gator condo’ #11, #12, and #13 were sharing space. These platforms are common here and well used.

American Alligator - Click To Enlarge
American Alligator – Click To Enlarge

Off in the sun I found #15 and #16. Horrible photo, at best a mistake. Except I needed to catch them all (one other photo was really bad so it didn’t count. I had more than enough anyway).

American Alligator - Click To Enlarge
American Alligator – Click To Enlarge

Finally after about 3 miles was #17, the last of the day. A big ‘fella’ sprawled out on the canal bank. Truth be told, we knew where he was and a 20 foot walk off the trail allowed this shot.

Alligators, especially big ones, are territorial (little ones get along fine). This one has been sleeping right about here for a month or so.

Coastal South Carolina has about 100,000 alligators. Finding 17 here is probably no big deal then.

Yeah right, it’s really cool !!!!