Sunday, October 24, 2010

Snowy Egret feeding nestlings...

Birding Hilton Head Island, SC and Pinckney Island at the Ibis Pond RookeryEven though I try, I can't begin to describe the energy and wonder of the Ibis Pond rookery at the height of the nesting season. There are so many birds and so much action it's hard to decide where to point the camera. Noise is varied and nonstop, sometimes slipping into a state that can only be described as a cacophony, and when you mix in the pungent aroma of regurgitated fish guts spiking here and there as you walk around the mote...with the never ending beauty and variety of birds at every glance, it can actually start to feel like an assault on the senses (but it's a good assault that keeps you coming back for more)!

As the Tricolored Herons from an earlier post were learning to fly in the trees in front of me, to the left, in the trees growing along the mote (again, on our side!), several parents in a mini colony of Little Blue Herons and Snowy Egrets were busy feeding their young while others sat patiently on eggs. Here a Snowy Egret tends to nestlings.

...you can see how the baby's gular pouch has expanded to hold the food.

...and I think we have a glimpse of regurgitated fish guts here--sort of greenish grey. Yum. Just what the baby needs to get big and strong!

...the sun did a beautiful job highlighting the baby's gular pouch. Kind of cool...it was the first time I had ever seen the sun shine through the tiny pouch.

It looks like baby#2 has given up, but he's just resting. He was fed first!

These photos are from June 7, 2010. The rookery was not as far along as the same week last year, but there seemed to be more herons and egrets. It was strange that they had crossed over the mote and were nesting on our side. Not many people were visiting the rookery while I was there. It was hot...really hot...like 100 degrees F hot, so that might have kept people away, but those that did visit were respectful of the nesting birds and kept back. That was good to see. The rookery wasn't quite as pungent or noisy this year either, but I assume a week or so after I left, the noise increased, and as more and more babies hatched out, so too the wonderful smells!

To see cool birds from all over the world, visit Bird Photography Weekly.

27 comments:

Nicole MacP said...

Awesome photos!

Roy said...

A brilliant set of nature photographs Kelly.

mick said...

That's a really fantastic series of photos. I can just imagine the noise and the smells of the rookery! With the heat - and the humidity - it would have been a bit much for most people except birders, I imagine!

Nature ID (Katie) said...

Wow. Great photos!

forestal said...

another wonderful series of photos.

dan

Kerri said...

These are amazing! And what a lovely experience too! A treasure!

Out on the prairie said...

The first time i saw them nesting I could just see a white splotch in a tree. Only when I got closer did I know what I had.They make a lot of racket when a parent comes in.

Wanda..... said...

These are the BEST photos I have seen ANYWHERE, Kelly!!!

JKoenig said...

I'm not sure there are words to describe the beauty of those pictures....That first one I especially liked. It should be framed (or painted). WoW!

Montanagirl said...

Fabulous photos, Kelly! I would love to visit there sometime.

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Fantastic photos, Kelly. What an amazing experience.

Chris said...

This is just plain awesome. I love this post... How cool this is to follow these little guys from egg to adult stages! Lucky you ;-) Kind of hard to do over here, except with the ducks. Gorgeous post Kelly and alazing pictures!

holdingmoments said...

These pictures are stunning Kelly.

Sarah Knight said...

Wow! That looks like an awesome experience!
Marvelous shots!

Warren Baker said...

Those photographs are truly stunning Kelly. Pin sharp and full of action. Well done to you !

Nick S said...

Amazing intimate shots there Kelly, and you know i love your paintings. Bravo !

The Early Birder said...

Glorious sights Kelly and smells from the feeding frenzy at the Rookery. FAB.

Wren said...

fabulous. absolutely fabulous.

Elaine said...

Supurb series of photos, Kelly! The first shot is absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience with us.

NCmountainwoman said...

Amazing series of photographs. I'll keep coming back to look at them.

Bob Kaufman said...

Wow, those are really hungry chicks! You did a great job documenting the feeding of the young Snowy Egrets by the adult.

The Zen Birdfeeder said...

Kelly - these are wonderful! A great observation. BRAVO!!!

NatureFootstep said...

I can´t help it but envy you. To have this opportunity to study this beautiful bird and it´s young.

Halcyon said...

What great shots. And your commentary is really interesting too. Those babies are just so cute with their wild, new feathers.

Carol Mattingly said...

Kelly absolutely fantastic images. Unbelievable. You should write an article and submit to a magazine. Carol

Kelly said...

...wow! Thanks, everyone! Pinckney Island is so amazing. I could (and did) spend hours and hours there. I want to go back during every season to see how much it changes. I've only been there during the height of the nesting season. I bet it gets pretty quiet during the "off" season. I have so many more photos to post...

Phil said...

Just superb photos Kelly. Those babes sure look reptilian when that young.