Archive for the ‘Birdwatching Stories’ Category
It happens every October or November: a bunch of egrets and cormorants will congregate along the lagoon in our back yard, usually in the late afternoon or evening. They don’t seem to be hunting for food – just getting together to “hang out” in the branches of the trees and shrubs along the lagoon.
I don’t see this behavior at other times of the year other than around a “rookery” – any ideas as to why they do this? Since we live near Hilton Head, I don’t think they’re flocking together to migrate somewhere else since I’ll see them all winter around our area as well as now.
Here’s a video of them from last fall – and I see more of them coming in to our lagoon today!
Our family was biking through our neighborhood when I spotted a good-sized bird in the bushes between the road and a large lagoon. Fortunately, I had my little pocket digital camera in my shorts pocket – a habit that I’ve found to pay big dividends for this blog!
I pedaled past, parked the bike, then snuck back around the bushes to get a better look – it was a Little Blue Heron! I snapped a picture, then tried to ease my way closer to get a better shot – here is the result:
What a beautiful bird – and to think that most people driving by would never see or appreciate it! What a wonderful place the Lowcountry is!
It was lunchtime when my wife called excitedly to me: “There’s a Great Blue Heron across the lagoon trying to eat a snake – and it looks like the snake is wrapped around the heron’s neck!” I quickly grabbed the video camera and picked up the action with the heron trying to figure out how to get the snake off its neck and into its gullet!
I’m not sure what kind of snake it was – either a black racer or a water moccasin, I believe – but its head was already part way down the heron’s throat when I started the video. (Take a look at the heron’s neck – it’s pretty fat with the snake part-ways in to it.)
But that snake must have seen the “Never, ever give up!” cartoon with the frog wrapping its hands around a heron’s throat, as it had wrapped itself around this Great Blue Heron’s neck and head. The heron was trying to figure out how to get itself out of this predicament and devour his uncooperative lunch. We’ll pick up the action there …
Every once in a while, the interactions between humans and nature produce some, er … unexpected results. Something as innocent as my neighbor leaving his truck parked in his driveway – nothing wrong with that, right? – can cause a seemingly harmless and innocent creature to fly into a rage.
When one thinks of an Eastern Bluebird, images of a beautiful, gentle bird come to mind. After all, they are bedecked in bright royal blue and orange colors, and often are set upon by their randy immigrant neighbors, the House Sparrows and the Starlings (both introduced from Europe), who compete with the Bluebirds for nesting holes in the neighborhood.
But perhaps some Bluebirds have had all they can stand and aren’t going to take it anymore! At least this one seemed to be ready to defend his territory against all comers – even another “phantom” Bluebird!
Here’s another addition to my N.I.M.B.Y. – “Nature In My Back Yard” – collection of pictures and videos. I was biking around our neighborhood near Bluffton and saw this handsome Great Blue Heron (is it a male or a female? not sure how to tell with these herons …) heading to a nearby lagoon in search of dinner. It was no more than 25 feet away from the road, and I happened to have my pocket camera along with me – something I’ve learned to do more often now!
I rode on past, then parked my bike next to a tree and slowly walked back to where I could see him and snapped this shot – a very handsome bird framed by the trees with the lagoon behind him (or her):