Sunday, June 28, 2009

Little Blue Heron at Pinckney Island National Wildlife Preserve (near Hilton Head Island, SC)

Birding on Hilton Head Island and Pinckney Island NWF…continued from Saturday’s post on the Green Heron.
I decided to stay and watch the Green Heron fish. Any bird who lays out bait to lure in his dinner deserves a little more attention, and I really wanted to watch him spear a fish, but my resolve was short lived as a dark blue bird gently glided over my head and clumsily landed in a tree halfway between Mr. Green Jeans and the Snowy Egret. It could only be one bird…a Little Blue Heron, and a Little Blue Heron was a life bird for me. With adrenalin surging all over the place, I scrambled over to where he landed. Holy Moly! Tucked in among the leaves was another Little Blue Heron, but this bird wasn’t alone. He was on a nest with three babies! Wow! That really focused me, and I started firing away right and left at the new species, so lovely and dark blue against the green leaves…













48 comments:

Cindy said...

He/she is beautiful. I got a shot of one not too long ago. This one is gorgeous.

Elaine said...

Wow, oh, wow!! These are so beautiful! The first photo is an absolute stunner! How can those poor birds in Ohio compete with this?

Tammie Lee said...

Amazing photos of this wild and wonderful bird and youngster!

Neil said...

Amazing to get a lifer and a bonus to get it with young

mick said...

That's a great series of photos and the ones with the young birds are especially nice.

Sue said...

My gosh, Kelly, this just keeps getting better and better. Wow. Those pictures are great! Sounds like you had almost too many choices on photo ops. Lucky lucky you!!!

holdingmoments said...

One stunning bird after the other.
What a place that is. Bird heaven for sure.

Dave Lewis said...

Outstanding find! Luckily those ugly babies grow up to be beautiful Little Blues.

Dave Lewis said...

Oh, I forgot to mention...great CRAZY EYE photo too!

Laure Ferlita said...

Wow oh wow!! Incredible shots! Such beauty! And some what sinister looking in a couple of your shots!

ShySongbird said...

What a really incredible place that is Kelly, it's almost like some strange ethereal dream world, I would have had to pinch myself to be sure! What a stunning colour the LBH is. Such beautiful photos of them and the Green Heron on the last post also.

The Wood Storks on a previous post really did have a prehistoric look about them.

Kelly said...

Cindy...the way her was puffing up and displaying really makes the photo. I haven photos from the next time I was there from one behaving more sedately, and they are not nearly as spectacular!

Elaine...I was saying the same thing to my husband. What am I going to do when my bird stash runs out? How am I going to find these tropical beauties (all in one spot and only 15 minutes from my house?). :-)

Tammie Lee...thank you....he makes me think of a crazy conductor in a symphony. Wild is a good description.

Neil...so true. There were two more babies, and I will post their photos tomorrow. The babies were very young too...

Mick...thank you!

Sue...I did. I was starting to get tired. I had been there for a long time and had been doing non-stop shooting.

Keith...Bird Heaven is a good name for it. It really spoils a person. We have to work so hard to catch wading birds in Cincy. With not nearly the variety.

Dave...haha! Now I did not say they were ugly. I think they are cute! It was so easy to find these amazing sights there. I wonder what it is like when it's not breeding season. I need to head down there "off season" and see! I popped the Crazy Eye photo in there just because it made me laugh. I didn't have time to label the photos, though. That one could have had a funny caption (although I'm not that funny!).

Laure....you're right. A few are sinister. He really makes me think of cartoon character representations of villians in a few of them...and the crazy conductor whipping his hair around in others! Definitely a character. Plus on top of that...tropical...like something from South America or Africa.

Songbird....it is almost ethereal because there were just so many birds. They also tended to live in little subdivisions, so they were clustered together for easy viewing!

Abe Lincoln said...

Gosh, what a beautiful set of photographs this is. Superior quality to be sure.

Roy said...

Great shots! We get some Little Blues up here, but I've never seen one displaying like that.

JKoenig said...

What a brilliant color--my favorite. And how amazing different they are as babies. It would be interesting to see how they mature into the ellegant creatures they become.

You have taken such great pictures of birds I will probably never ever observe, and I am thankful to be able to see them.

God bless!..........Janice

Kelly said...

Abe...thank you very much. The bird does all the work. I just snap the shutter!

Roy...the others I saw were more sedate. His plumage is definitely taken up a notch when displaying!!

JK....Thank you!! From a distance against a blue sky they look almost black. Up close, however...the blue is incredible. I was mesmerized by this little bird. There were a lot on the island too.

gwendolen said...

Wow, what a beauty.

I can imagine your excitement. Congrats on the great pix!

Steve B said...

Nice! I've only seen a couple of these.

Montanagirl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Montanagirl said...

Okay, I'll try this again. Kelly, what superb shots! You just amaze me with your photography and the variety of birds you're seeing! Those shots of the baby are priceless. I want to visit there!

Kelly said...

gwendolen...thank you!

Steve...thanks...up to then, I hand't seen any. They are gorgeous little birds.

Mona...if you can get there...go...especially during breeding season. I have no idea what it's like during off season.

DK Miller said...

Those pictures are amazing. What beautiful birds.

Linda McGeary said...

Baby bird school. My kids an honor student!

You've inspirered me. I bought a bird book with recorded bird songs and calls in it. Not like I need another book on my stacks of books I want to read next, but I couldn't help myself. You make it look so fun.

Well, back to work.

Linda McGeary said...

Opps, inspired, a few to many letters.

Bob and Cynthia Kaufman said...

They are just so adorable! The displaying pose in the first photo is outstanding!

Cathy B. said...

Great pictures! This bird is spectacular!

Jenny said...

So........when are you moving down to SC??? (-:

Midmarsh John said...

Wow Kelly. Beautiful shots of a beautiful bird. It really can be heart stopping when a new bird is seen and you want to get it in the camera before it disappears. Then to get the babies as well - double wow.

I like the way the bird is looking at you in photo five as though to say - "What you lookin' at?"

Warren Baker said...

well done ''Heron'' lady!! another lifer! cool.

Kelly said...

DK...thank you!

Linda...all right! Before you know it you'll be out there with your bincos and camera. It is fun. The more you know about birds, the more you want to study them. There is always something new to learn...

Bob and Cynthia...thank you. When he was doing that all I could think of was how gorgeous he looked...and I hoped I was getting it on the camera! :-)

Cathy...thank you!

Jenny.....oh my gosh......if I could be down there now I would. Retirement......it would be great! :-)

John.....thanks....I know....I was thinking, "are you finished yet? Move on lady, move on! The shows over..."

Warren...."Heron Lady...." hmmmm....not bad! :-)
Thanks....

Roy said...

Wow Kelly. Another Bird of Paradise look-alike. So unusual.

Jo said...

Gah, it's so cute! And what a juxtaposition -- that gangly little white creature next to the gorgeous blue and violet plumes of the adult.

Adrienne in Ohio said...

What luck! I'm so glad you had a camera to capture this moment. Thanks for sharing!

Kelly said...

Roy...so true. Everything down here was so exotic.

Jo...When I first saw the babies I thought they were from another bird. So white...and the mamas and papas beautiful blue and violet. It was a sight....

Adrienne...thank you! I'm so glad I had my camera too (I just wish I had another card, which soon will run out!) :-)

Rene said...

Heron chicks sure are ugly and loud aren't they? ;) It sounds like you're having a blast!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Kelly---I'm finally getting around to your blog.. It's been a busy day!!!

That is the prettiest little Blue Heron I have ever seen... WOW---what a gorgeous bird. I'm just blown away by this one...

Thanks for sharing.
Love you,
Betsy

Kelly said...

Rene....I have more pics of the chicks. They are yet to come, and yes, they are nonstop vocal.

Betsy...I know what you mean. It's very hard to keep up with everyone's blogs. I sometimes miss blogs and have no idea I have....drives me nuts! He is a cutie, isn't he...or I guess he's more gorgeous than cute. Chickadees are cute! :-)

Anna said...

Kelly what a beautiful bird. Thanks for sharing your exploration, excellent shots. Anna :)

Marvin said...

Beautiful bird. Great photos.

madahmas said...

This is an awesome looking heron with a young. :)

Chris said...

Hi Kelly,
Wow this is amazing!!! A very beautiful post and story!! I love these shots which represent a real nature moment. you got them so well. The adults are beautiful and I love to see their chicks so white and pure. Well done.

Kelly said...

Anna, Marvi, Madahmas and Chris...thank you! I hope when I go back next year I get to see them again. If the water levels are not just right, they will abandon the site. They do not like drought conditions and will not tolerate low water conditions.

dAwN said...

Fantastic Photos!...are you on a birdie expedition! You are just making me smile each new post..

Nick S said...

Just beautiful. I'll swap some of my Owls for your herons :-)

Kelly said...

Dawn...thank you.....but it's starting to run out. I still have a few more species to go. I wonder how all the babies are doing now!

Nick....haha! I'd love to see some of your owls!

Heather said...

What a lovely and magnificent bird! Just curious, did you have dreams about any of these birds after spending so much time with them? This was a great choice for your BPW post.

Kelly said...

Heather.....yes! I couldn't get them out of my mind....and I kept wishing I had studied ornithology (or even knew I could have studied it) and had become a research scientist. :-) When I was there and when I got home, I had so many impressions and thoughts in my head about the experience, I couldn't write about it. I had to let things trickle out....it was very weird.

Wren said...

great photos - I think that is the best look I've ever gotten at one of these. And the baby ... wow!