Archive for the ‘N.I.M.B.Y.’ Category

Fall Egret Convention in My Back Yard

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

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!

Wood Storks in My Backyard

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

I saw a recent article in a Charleston newspaper proclaiming: “Wood Storks Stage Comeback.”  Apparently there are now over 150 breeding pairs in the Dungannon Plantation Heritage Preserve about 10 miles south of Charleston.  Now there are 40 pairs of Wood Storks that have established what may be the largest urban breeding colony in the region in Dill Sanctuary, on the Stono River on James Island, five miles from downtown Charleston.  Here’s a snippet from the article (which is no longer available online):

Incongruously, up close on the ground, the stork’s wrinkly head might be uglier than the macabre vulture it’s related to.

“It’s not a handsome bird,” said Andy Harrison, a member of Charleston Audubon.

Like the bald eagle, the stork has become a bellwether of the potential of preserving coastal environment as the Lowcountry develops. Its success gives conservationists hope for the return of fabled wildlife such as the whooping crane lost more than a century ago.

A generation ago, the stork bird had all but disappeared. An estimated 40,000 breeding pairs in the Southeast in 1930 were decimated by the loss of their nesting habitat and shallow feeding waters. In 1981, only 11 pairs were counted in South Carolina.

But recent counts put the number of wood stork pairs in the state at more than 2,000, the largest colony in the United States.

I feel fortunate to have had several of these magnificent (but admittedly UGLY!) birds visit our back yard over the past year.  Here is a picture I took from my office window of two of them that were having some “quality time” on the bank of the lagoon behind our house: (more…)

Turtles Stage World Cup – “Fishball 2010″

Monday, July 12th, 2010

While the eyes of the world were on the World Cup final game in South Africa, the Yelllow-bellied Slider turtles in the lagoon behind my home staged their own version of the  “World Cup” by pushing around a dead fish floating on the surface.  Welcome to all the exciting action of “Fishball 2010″!

G-A-A-O-O-O-O-O-L-L-L!!!!

Little Blue Heron – Nature In My Back Yard

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

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:

Little Blue Heron - Nature in My Back Yard

Little Blue Heron - Nature in My Back Yard

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!

The Great Blue Heron and the Snake that Wouldn’t Give Up!

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

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 …

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