I previously worked as a news and sports photographer. Recently I have been enjoying wildlife photography. My approach toward bird photos is similar to sports photography. I attempt to capture mostly action and hopefully a unique perspective.
All the area reptiles were thrilled as were the rest of us to finally see the sun today.
We were moving lizards off our screen porch all morning, the turtles were up and out all around our backyard ponds, and of course the alligators at the marsh were all trying to find the perfect spot to soak up some long anticipated sunshine.
The gators were struggling a bit just to find a piece of dry land to nap on and that was at a premium. Many ended up laying down on the mats of dried reeds that the storm and abnormally high tide deposited along the edges of the salt marsh.
The birds were there as well. Here, a great blue heron keeps an eye on a napping alligator and then a short while later, the GBH left the scene replaced by an egret, and one more gator moved in to claim his small slice of (somewhat) dry real estate.
It was still a recovery day from the heavy rains and winds for much of the wildlife over by the marsh this afternoon.
Some birds were still just sitting in trees looking confused and exhausted, while others were out in full force hunting for food.
There were a few alligators around but they were not doing much and they seemed as shocked as everyone else about the conditions of things. The water is super high everywhere and even at low tide, the water level in the salt marsh remained high. It was almost as if there wasn’t a low tide at all anymore. Impossible, but that’s how it appeared.
Most of what we saw out there today was some egrets, blue herons, ibis, and ospreys flying around and searching for a meal.
Here are a few egrets from today, doing their best I’m sure under the circumstances.
Thankfully the rain today was reduced to light drizzle for most of the afternoon and into the evening. But there is damage everywhere and lots of neighborhoods and businesses are still under water.
We went over to the marsh area this afternoon to check on the wildlife. There were lots of birds out looking very confused and still a bit panicked. They had a difficult time trying to fly against heavy wind gusts so many opted to just sit in a tree all day. But food still had to be hunted and acquired, so those that were most hungry were out fishing despite the weather.
This snowy egret was actually fishing on a sidewalk near one side of the marsh area. The sidewalk, like many nearby roads, was under water.
One great egret was seen battling the wind as he flew across the causeway.
At one point I saw an osprey up, then heard some squeaking and quickly noticed a young bald eagle up even higher than the osprey but both birds were able to glide effortlessly by working the wind currents.
This alligator sign at the marsh pond is supposed to be on land about four feet above water level but is now almost totally submerged.
Supposed to be some sun (what’s that?) out tomorrow and certainly by Wed. We all can’t wait, that includes the alligators who I know have had it with the rain same as the rest of us.
Well I’m not sure if this alligator from several days ago was filling up because he knew what was coming, but he was smart to stock up before the storm hit.
We have had historical rainfall here in South Carolina starting on Thursday and continuing on into tomorrow. The Governor of SC declared a state of emergency earlier this weekend and many towns are suffering from severe flooding with businesses, residences, and roadways under water.
This afternoon I took out the little waterproof point and shoot and went over at high tide to check out the inlet area which is just north of the salt marsh. I wanted to see if the goats over on goat island were Ok. From what I learned they are all huddled together in their little ‘goat hut’ on the far right portion of the island which was cut off from the main section.
Before leaving I also found this clapper rail right next to the marshwalk area. Clapper rails are normally secretive birds that you can often hear but rarely see because they prefer to stay hidden among the tall marsh grass and reeds. But this poor little guy had nowhere to hide. He was stuck walking around on some small sections of floating reeds in the deep water of the inlet caused by the rain and high tide.
I have also included a picture of the goats from two weeks ago during happier times before the storms hit.
We are hoping things begin to improve but are being promised yet more rain tonight and Monday morning so we shall see…
I thought I would give you all a bit of a break from the alligator enjoying his fish dinner to these views of a great blue heron zooming across the salt marsh.
This was earlier in the week before the tropical system moved over us and turned our blue skies grey and full of water, which has been pouring down on us since Thursday. Heavy rain is expected to continue tomorrow and into Monday.
This shows the marsh in happier times this past Tuesday when that big bright yellow thing in the sky was still providing light. Seems like so long ago now, especially since the entire marsh area is almost completely flooded over due to the combination of steady rain and higher than normal tides. The hurricane which passed by our coast briefly ended up having no effect on our situation, we were getting all this rain regardless.
So anyway, look for our good pal Mr. A to be back in the next few days with more thrilling tales from the seafood buffet. :-)
Here’s our boy from earlier this week causing a major panic in bait fish world. He had them jumping like they just got tossed into a hot frying pan. But no hot meal for Mr. A, he likes them fresh and still hopping.
I know what you are thinking… could there possibly be even more photos upcoming showing our good buddy enjoying his dinner?!
Oh yes, oh my yes. There are indeed more pics from this feeding session that will be posted here in the coming days so stay tuned. :-)
As I mentioned previously, an alligator actively feeding in the salt marsh will often attract hungry snowy egrets. The alligator gets the panicky fish to jump around in all directions, including right out of the water, and that means the snowys reap the benefits.
Here, one lucky little egret shows off his prize. Snowball walked his fish over to some floating reeds which are a few feet away from the water. The idea with that technique is that should the frenzied snowy drop his squirming fish (and they frequently do) it can’t swim away if it doesn’t drop back into water. Smart little birds. :-)
An alligator earlier this week swims over to say hello and opens up with a nice friendly smile!
If he looks happy it’s because he has been stuffing himself with bait fish all afternoon and into the evening. He found himself a convenient landlocked pool fully stocked with huge crowds of fish and was making the most of it.
The snowy egrets are often attracted to the panicked hoards of jumping fish caused by the marauding alligator and they were working the area as well. Photos of them, in addition to our well fed gator pal showing the fish who’s boss, will be upcoming through the week.