I went out into the woods next to my building late this morning. There wasn’t a lot that I found interesting but I took a few pictures. Before I went back inside, though, I thought I’d walk over to the pond on the other side of the building and see if the ducklings were still there. They were not but this great blue heron (Ardea herodias) was and I was able to get a few decent pictures before he flew off. I also watched a couple tiger swallowtails (Papilio glaucus) fluttering around and getting water from the mud at the pond’s edge. All in all, a nice, relaxing outing to break up an otherwise uneventful day at the office.
Tagged With: Heron
A bunch of us went to Brookgreen Gardens today. Seth, Iris, and Tsai-Hong stayed until about 1:00 before moving on to the lowcountry zoon and then headed back to the beach. Cathy, Dorothy, Jonathan, Dot, and I had lunch and then did a bit more walking in the gardens before hitting the zoo. I took a lot of pictures of sculpture and a few of dragonflies and grasshoppers (the huge eastern lubber grasshopper, Romalea microptera). I really enjoy both the sculpture and the setting. It was hot today but not really hot by South Carolina in August standards. In the shade it was actually pretty pleasant. This first picture is of my favorite tree at Brookgreen gardens. It is in the corner of the Palmetto Garden and really is part of the Live Oak Allée that’s just across the wall. I think it’s magnificent.
Of course we also went to the lowcountry zoo where we saw black-crowned night-herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) as well as a few egrets and an ibis. The otters were very active and we enjoyed watching them swim around for a while. It was actually feeding time at the alligator pond but the alligator we saw must be well fed because he was pretty blasé about the whole thing.
After leaving Brookgreen, we drove to Murrill’s Inlet for an early dinner at Nance’s. Dorothy, Jonathan, and I shared a half bushel of steamed oysters while mom had soft-shell crab and Cathy had a crab cake.
I stopped at Upper Rock Creek Park (a.k.a. Lake Needwood) today on the way home from work. I like to do that now and then, especially in the spring when new things are coming up or in the fall when the leaves are so lovely. But neither of those are true right now, so I’m not entirely sure why I did. But I did. As I walked down through the woods I saw a great blue heron fly across the lake and land in a dead tree on a point just a little way ahead. I knew there was a path out onto that point so I made my way there, walking as quietly as I could. The path goes steeply down the hill at the end, right under the tree the bird was in and I was only able to get three pictures as it flew off, almost directly into the sun. So, it’s not necessarily what I was hoping for but it’s probably better then I should have expected.
After a meeting across campus today, I stopped to take some pictures of the ice around the drainage control pond next to my building. With the rain on Thursday and Friday, the water had been high. As it drained, the temperature dropped and it froze, but the water level continued to drop, leaving lots of ice around the banks of the pond. As I walked down through the middy area leading to the pond, this great blue heron (Ardea herodias), took off and flew a little further away from me. After that, he waded around and I was able to get a few more pictures, both from this side (where he is back lit) and from the other, with the sun shining on him from over my shoulders. Without more than a 100mm lens, this is the best I could do.
Cathy and I went for a walk along the C&O Canal today after church. We each brought a change of clothes because it was much too hot for even casual church clothes today. We walked west (upstream) on the tow path and enjoyed the fact that it’s pretty shady. With a temperature above 95°F in the shade, we certainly didn’t need to be out in the sun. We’re neither mad dogs nor Englishmen.
As you would expect, I brought my camera with me and we saw a little wildlife. First was this dragonfly. The female and the immature male of the eastern pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis) are an emerald green. The adult male, however, transitions to a dark, powder blue, as seen here.
I got some nice photos of buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), a flowering shrub native to the area. It’s a member of the coffee family, Rubiaceae and it has very interesting, spherical florets.
At the turning basin just above the aqueduct we saw a great blue heron (Ardea herodias) although the way it was lit and because it was pretty far away, I wasn’t sure that’s what it was. Of course, there aren’t a lot of birds that size around here. A little further on we saw a black-crowned night-heron (Nycticorax nycticorax). I had stopped to take a picture of a family of ducks in the canal, which was full of duck weed. That meant I was ready when the heron flew past and I was able to get this shot.
I decided to take a bit of a detour on the way home, stopping at Upper Rock Creek Park along the east bank of Lake Needwood. I find it very frustrating that the powers that be they have put up barricades on Needwood Road that make it impossible to park there and enjoy that end of the lake. I don’t really understand that decision. It’s obviously something that was thought out and specifically decided, as some of the guard rails are not protecting anything except places that one might otherwise park their car. Anyway, I drove through the park and ended up parking at the south end of the lake. As I was walking I startled a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) and was just able to get one somewhat blurry photo before it flew out of range.
We went to the Tridelphia Reservoir this afternoon to two different parking areas and walked out and back along trails from both. The first wasn’t as nice as we had hoped, although we saw two types of clubmoss, Diphasiastrum digitatum (fan clubmoss) and Dendrolycopodium obscurum (ground pine). The walk from the second parking area was really nice. It was an easy walk except for a few places where there was mud on the trail but it wasn’t hard to get around. We were about to turn around when Cathy spotted this great blue heron (Ardea herodias), who let us get quite close. We just stood and watched it for quite a while.
We went for a walk on the C&O Canal this afternoon, heading northwest from Pennyfield Lock. We saw a few great blue herons Great (Ardea herodias), including this one who posed for us very nicely. It was a lovely day and really good to be outdoors. The canal is nice, especially a little ways out from Great Falls Tavern, because it’s open and there aren’t a lot of people. More people than on some trails but not so many it’s a pain, trying to keep our distance from everyone.
We walked on the C&O Canal again this afternoon, returning to Pennyfield Lock but walking southeast instead of northwest. We saw three herons including one in a tree over the canal and this one, wading in the water. It seems like a good time of year for them and it’s particularly nice to see them as close as this. The trees are all bare, of course, which makes things in the trees easier to see. It was cool out today but not cols, so a really nice day for a walk.
We took another trip to the C&O Canal today after stopping at Mary’s indigo dyeing event today. We parked at the end of Tschiffley Mill Road, on the west bank of Seneca Creek where it empties into the Potomac River. From there we walked a little ways behind the turning basin but decided we’d do better on the tow path. We saw three different types of heron. We saw both immature and adult black-crowned night herons (Nycticorax nycticorax), at least two green herons (Butorides virescens), and at least two great blue herons (Ardea herodias), including this one on a log along with a painted turtle (Chrysemys picta). Once again, this was taken with my new telephoto lens, zoomed out to 600mm (which with an APS-C sensor, makes this the equivalent of a 960mm lens with 35mm film).
We went to Great Falls today and walked downstream on the towpath. We went out to the overlook and enjoyed the roaring water, which was considerably higher than the last time we were at the river. I got a few photos of two immature bald eagles flying overhead. Then further along the towpath we got a really nice view of this great blue heron (Ardea herodias) in the canal. There was, apparently, another down at wide-water, but we decided we had walked far enough and headed back. This one was catching what appear to be crayfish or some other sort of fresh water crustacean. He (or she) didn’t seem to mind the attention from the shore and let a lot of folks get photos.
We went to the C&O Canal today, walking upstream from Riley’s Lock and the Seneca Creek Aqueduct. Past the far end of the turning basin we saw a family of wood ducks (Aix sponsa) but none of the males were in their fancy, breeding plumage. They are still pretty ducks and since we usually only see mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), we enjoyed watching them paddle around in the duck weed. We also saw a great blue heron (Ardea herodias) and I got quite a few nice photos of that.
On the way back, I saw something that didn’t register immediately but I stopped and backed up to take a better look. It was this green heron (Butorides virescens) on its nest in a willow hanging out over the water of the turning basin. I was able to get a pretty good show, in spite of the branches of the tree.
After our walk in the Green Swamp we drove to the Twin Ponds overlook. We affectionately call it Alligator Pond because that’s what we generally go to see. The boardwalk style viewing platform is officially call the Carl Bazemore Bird Walk. There are also birds there, and today we saw this green heron (Butorides virescens) in the shallows. In years past the view has been obscured by rank growth between the viewing platform and the pond. Sometime since last year that has been cut down, making the viewing considerably better. We did see an alligator there today, but I think my best photo from the visit was this one of the heron.
We went to the C&O Canal today at Great Falls. It was in the mid-30s but we dressed appropriately and had a really nice walk. The river was relatively high and I got some nice pictures of the raging torrent. We didn’t see many small birds but saw three great blue herons (Ardea herodias), lots of mallards (Ardea herodias), and one sharp-shinned hawk (Accipiter striatus). Between the wind and the noise of the water we couldn’t really hear birds, even if they were there. Two of the herons we saw (which may have been the same bird two hours apart) were on the side of the river. This one, however, was in the canal, behind some cattails.