|Hello Mr. Anhinga. Charmed, I'm sure...|
I really wanted to find the Yellow-crowned Night Heron roost, but adrenalin from the excitement of an unexpected encounter helped me focus my mind on the anhinga and soon washed away all thoughts of the night herons. I was more than happy to drop the map on the grass and just sit beside this incredibly cool bird. With his long, snaky neck and sharp dagger-like bill, it was hard to take my eyes off him...
|The sky blue skin on an Anhinga's face is striking. I'm not normally close enough, however, to see it so clearly! This bird landed about 15-20 feet away from me as I was sitting beside the lake.|
|He immediately struck up his famous feather-drying pose, and looked around. A few small bugs here buzzing near his face, and he'd shake his head now and then and snap at the tiny insects.|
|A male Anhinga hanging his feathers out to dry...|
Why do Anhingas hold their wings open to dry their feathers?
You might already know about why these birds do not waterproof their feathers. If you don't, click here for a post I wrote last year on Anhingas that explains why waterlogged feathers help Anhingas by reducing their buoyancy so they can swim and fish under water.
...and if you haven't seen it yet, head over to 10,000 Birds to read Nate Swick's I and the Bird post on Cormorants, Anhingas and Darters.
I photographed this fellow on June 14, 2012 while we were on our vacation in Hilton Head, SC. It's about time I started posting some of the beautiful South Carolina birds we saw back then! Another post on this guy is in the works...
p.s. I never did find the Yellow-crowned Night Heron roost!
This is the first of three Anhinga posts:
Part 1: Anhinga close-ups
Part 2: More Anhinga photos; spread-wing posture
Part 3: The silver feathers on an Anhinga's wings