Friday, June 19, 2009

The Rookery at Pinckney Island NWR

Birding Hilton Head Island, SC and Pinckney Island NWR (...continued from Wednesday's post on the Black-Crowned Night-Heron)
The Black-Crowned Night-Herons continued to laze in the trees, so I moved on. Up ahead I could see a bench. My foot hurt a little after that walk, so I thought I’d sit down and rest and write about what I’d seen so far, but that didn’t happen…because as soon as I turned the bend I saw this…


…and this….


…and this…


Hundreds and hundreds of Ibises were crowded together, squawking and chattering, moving from branch to branch, sometimes bickering, but mostly just living and nesting together. As I looked closer I saw more and more Ibises hunkered down in nests hidden deep in the shadows, doubling and tripling their numbers. I also saw other birds. A Great Egret was hidden in the branches, and Tri-colored Herons and Little Blue Herons were flying over. I caught a Snowy Egret out of the corner of my eye flying low then winging higher as he headed out toward the salt marsh. The rookery was on an island in the middle of Ibis Pond. Where I stood the birds were about 20 feet away. Just a three or four foot strip of water separated the island from the land, and I could see the blue of their eyes without the camera lens.



32 comments:

Elaine said...

Wow! What an incredible experience! I'll bet you forgot all about sitting down and resting. You had already had two wonderful encounters, and then this. What a perfect day you had!

Kelly said...

...Elaine there is so much more to come....and yes....I totally forgot about the foot. There was just too much to see! :-)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

My goodness Kelly, there sure were enough Ibis, plus all the others too? A great birding day I would say.

Roy said...

What a sight to see Kelly, quite amazing.

Jayne said...

HOLY COW Kelly! What a sight that must have been, not to mention the sounds! Wow.... thanks for taking us along.

Vickie said...

What a wonderful gathering! More reasons for me to miss the southern coast and all that its habitat has to offer. Easy on the foot.

ShySongbird said...

Kelly I'm so sorry to have missed some of your great posts lately, I'm afraid ordinary life sometimes gets in the way!
Anyway, I enjoyed reading the account of your visit to your blogger friends and sseeing their beautiful blooms.

On the next post I loved the photos of the Painted Bunting, what an amazingly colourful bird, we have nothing like that here. Your post on the BCN Heron was so interesting, what a delightful bird and as usual so beautifully photographed and I loved your naming of the road 'Happiness Way'!

As for this post, well! I'm beginning to think you live in some magical 'other world' ;) what an amazing sight!!

yen said...

So so many Ibises, wow! Quite a site and I think it was all worth it, I mean the foot ache. What more can I birder ask?

JKoenig said...

What a magnificent experience!

Roy said...

Wow! That certainly is a lot of Ibises in one place, and not a tropical place, either. That's a scene I'd expect in Florida, not Ohio. That most certainly is a great wildlife refuge.

Montanagirl said...

Wonderful birding day for you! Love all those white Ibises. Great photography.

Laure Ferlita said...

We have flocks of Ibises around here - maybe 2 dozen or more, but I've never seen anything like your rookery! Just amazing!

Heather said...

Well, I see why they call it Ibis Pond! What a birding paradise!!! I haven't traveled to a beach-like destination for years, and I miss the beach. Your accounts of Pinkney Island so far are whetting my appetite for some beach birding, for sure! I would surely clean up on the life birds! BTW, I see that your year list grew quite a bit from this trip!

Nick S said...

wow , just amazing Kelly !

Richard said...

Bird overload time. Glad the bench was handle. Great pictures.

Warren Baker said...

Quite some sight kelly! I bet your aching foot was soon forgotten!

NCmountainwoman said...

What a sight to behold! I cannot imagine seeing it in person. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Nature As Is said...

Outstanding Kelly what a wonderful day for you!! Lovely shots girl :)

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Wooooooooooooo Kelly... I cannot imagine seeing that many at one time. You got some incredible pictures. Beautiful birds.

I talked about you in my blog today!!!!
Love you,
Betsy

holdingmoments said...

Wow! Bird heaven!
What a sight to see Kelly.

Jenny said...

What a stunning sight! I can't get over it. I would LOVE to experience that! Great photos Kelly! (-:

Chris said...

Wow!!! Wow!! Wooooooooow!!! I guess you probably took much more pictures than the ones there!!! I would have taken millions!! How did you move away from there? That would have been terrible for me to go back home!!!
Thanks for sharing this unique moment with us!!!

Susie said...

Wow how neat! I bet they were loud.

Kelly said...

...thanks, everyone! Isn't it amazing? I've never seen anything like it. I want to go back so badly. And Chris....yes, I was there for over 5 hours the first time, but it seemed like just a couple of hours. I took so many photos I used up my cards each time I was there!

NW Nature Nut said...

I would *love* to see that...although I might pee my pants in excitement!

Kelly said...

Nature Nut....hahaha!! I almost did... :-)

HBFG said...

Absolutely fantastic pictures! That must be sooo wonderful to see with your own eyes though..
Thanks for taking us along with you on that wonderful expidition.
Michi

Kelly said...

Michi...thank you...it was wonderful...beyond wonderful...and I want to go back again. If I lived there, you wouldn't be able to drag me away!

Gabrielle said...

Okay, that's it! I'm packing up the car right now and driving non-stop until I reach Pinckney Island!!! P.I. or Bust!

dAwN said...

Excellent...amazing numbers of birds!
I am going to have to check out where this place is and put on my list of places i need to visit!

Kelly said...

Gabrielle and Dawn....Yes....you need to go. You will love it!!! So many birds in such a small area.....I keep saying I've never seen anything like it. There was a family there who were returning from the everglades in Florida, and they said this place blew the everglades away. They were amazed too...

Mary said...

Wow....fantastic!