Birding Hilton Head Island and Pinckney Island NWR…continued from Tuesday’s Great Egret Post
The heat was really starting to build, so I walked closer to the salt marsh and deeper under the live oaks to escape the sun for a bit. As I walked, I was looking down at the ground. It was so different from what I was used to. White sand had swept in from the salt marsh, and individual blades of grass had poked through the sand and were growing thick and green. Dappled shade thrown from the live oak’s leaves cast bluish shadows on the white sand, while in patches where the sun seeped through, the sand was snowy white. I stopped and wrote about it in my journal because I knew it was something exquisite that I would forget with my next step, and I wanted to make sure I didn’t do that.
Soon I reached the “back” part of the rookery. On the right, the salt marsh had slowly morphed into a pine forest. I continued to walk and watched a Great Egret land in the boughs ahead, only for a second or two, then take off again for a better perch. I knew the Wood Storks were roosting somewhere in the pines, so I was watching carefully, but didn’t see anything. Coming up on the next section of the rookery, the bird density was picking back up, and as I scanned an expansive reed bed, an adult Green Heron materialized right before my eyes. He was frozen among the stalks, bill pointed toward the water, so I locked in on him, hoping to watch him lurch forward to stab a fish, but then out of the corner of my eye I saw movement in the pines to my right, and when I looked up, there they were! A small flock of Wood Storks were resting in the branches. Another life bird for me. As I watched them through the camera lens, I knew they wouldn’t register high on the “classic” beauty scale, but just like the Turkey Vultures, they have their own unique, prehistoric beauty. I couldn’t take my eyes off them (and temporarily forgot about the Green Heron).
peaceful demeanor makes these birds irresistible.
...that is until they start joking around! It looks like I told
this guy a funny joke (and he really liked the punch line),
but really he's just panting in the heat to cool down.
"I'm in a tree, and I think I'll try to do Tree.
I love yoga. I am Yoga-Stork!"
"Haha...you're a Goofball-Stork!"
...again...more thermoregulation---panting, panting
(which is really cool to watch), but I prefer to think they
are discussing last night's skit on "Late Night with
Jimmy Fallon," which was very funny.