The American Bittern is a medium-sized heron that is supposed to be elusive, even secretive. Yesterday I thought I saw one, but Observer, see comment below, pointed out that this is not an American Bittern, but a Black-crowned Night-Heron, probably a juvenile one. It was standing out in the open on a wooden beam by the side of Wildlife Drive at Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. Maybe it was relatively early in the morning, as it allowed me to come within 20 ft (6 m) of it to take these up-close pictures. It stood still in one pose, so the dozen shots I took are almost all identical.
In my first Osprey Drama post, I wrongly attributed selfishness to the male Osprey who denied food to what I thought was his mate. As Donna pointed out, that younger Osprey was in fact an Osprey chick, his child. Adult Ospreys, male or female, encourage their fledglings to go find their own food by intentionally denying them the food they usually bring back to the nest. Once hungry enough the young ones have to fly out and find fish on their own.
Today I went back to the nest and found the father with another fish in his talon.
He kept looking around, as if searching for the young one.
I too waited for the young one to return to the nest, for almost 20 minutes. When I left him, he was still waiting.
This post is now updated to reflect the correct information given by bayphotosbydonna in her comments below. Thank you Donna!
This morning I drove to the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. Many of the Osprey nests were empty, perhaps because the young chicks have fledged and have begun migrating South with their parents. At one nest, however, the male Osprey had caught a big fish.
He ate the head of the fish while I could hear the young chick clamoring for food at their nest nearby. It called out to its father, asking him to hurry up and bring the fish back to their nest.
In January of 2015, I spent half an hour watching the sun set over the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, taking a photo every minute. The colors kept getting more vivid and the clouds more intricate. The scene became most intense in the last few minutes, after the sun had plunged below the horizon.
Eight weeks ago at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, the Osprey chicks were still small.
This past Monday, all three chicks have grown up. They appeared to be waiting for their parents who were out looking for fish.
It was a hot day with lots of mosquitoes and flies attacking me constantly, so I didn’t stick around to wait for the parents to come back to their nest.
Two days ago, a Great Blue Heron was stalking fish at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge.
I saw it repeatedly stab at something in the water, but never saw it catch anything, unless it swallowed its prey even before coming up for air.
Meanwhile, a nearby Great Egret had better luck and seemed to enjoy its tossed fish.
Milkweed was in bloom around the Visitor Center at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, and butterflies continually fluttered among its flowers and plants. Here are some photos of the three different kinds I saw yesterday.
I’ve read that it is quite possible to repair butterfly wings, either by gluing on parts of real broken wings or cellophane! There are even videos showing how to do it.
These are my submissions for this challenge: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/inspiration/
The sources of my inspiration of course vary with the season and the location, but over time they tend to be mostly birds and flowers.
I took the following shot last month at my favorite location, the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. It was raining so I took the picture through the open car window and the rain.
I took the following photos of these beautiful shore birds at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in May of this year, but somehow never got around to post them here. Better late than never, so here they are.
There is a flock of Glossy Ibises at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. Birds of Pharaoh Thot, Glossy Ibises originate from Africa but have migrated and established themselves in the Americas.
When I see them, they are always looking for food, their curved bills half immersed in the water of the marshes.
While taking photos of Ospreys and Willets, I saw a pair of Glossy Ibises flying gracefully overhead and quickly shot the following.
Raccoons are one of the few animals native to North America, although they have now been introduced to Europe and Japan. I saw the following Raccoon twice on Wildlife Drive at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. It calmly crossed the road to go get a drink in the marshes.
Once done, it headed back, aiming straight at my car!
At the last moment, it swerved and walked among the reeds, sniffing here and there. I lost sight of it for a few minutes, and put the camera away. Then I almost jumped out of my seat when it reappeared right under my car window. However, it continued walking back in the direction it came from. I was too stunned to take any picture.
Raccoons can be a predator to Ospreys, and I did notice that some Osprey nests which had birds incubating are now devoid of life. I wonder if the above Raccoon had anything to do with it.
The Black Skimmer has a most unusual bill among birds, with the lower mandible longer than the upper one. It uses it to skim over water in search of small fish. When the lower mandible senses a prey, the upper one clamps down.
As it hunts for food, Black Skimmers leave amazingly perfect straight lines on the water surface as seen in the following photos. Two days ago, a pair of Black Skimmers put on an aerial show and spent several minutes flying back and forth in front of me. However, they did not seem to catch anything that I could see.
I heard the sound of fish jumping in the water, probably scared by the skimming action, but maybe they were too big for these birds to catch.
Yesterday I finally saw young chicks in some of the Osprey nests at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. The one shown below had two, possibly three, chicks who were very hungry.
After a few minutes, the mother reminded her stoic mate that more fish was needed.
Among birds, the best aerial acrobats must be tree swallows. Every time I see them they are darting left and right, up and down at all angles, never staying in one place long enough for a decent photograph. However, three weeks ago, I saw one lonely swallow perched at the top of a birdhouse at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, apparently resting and enjoying a nice breeze ruffling its feathers.
It stood there for several minutes, even after it saw me.
The staring contest ended when I had to leave and continue my drive. The swallow, however, stayed at the same perch.
Monday was a cloudy and rainy day. At the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge a Great Egret was standing by himself, very dainty and haughty in full breeding plumage.
A family of Cannada Geese with nine goslings loved the weather and went in for a swim.
Of course, the goslings thoroughly enjoyed the water.
As they hunt for food, Forster’s Terns like to hover over the salt marshes at Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. They fly in small loops and dive into the water at fairly high speed to catch some fish, not always successfully. This makes them somewhat difficult to photograph, and I’ve tried to do that many times. It’s only a few days ago that I was able to get some shots where a tern has actually caught a meal.
Forster’s Terns like to hover above the salt marshes, making quick, unpredictable turns before diving into the water to catch something to eat. They can be real aerial acrobats as shown in the following photos taken at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge a few days ago.
JeanInJackson post Only Child prompted me to post this photo I took today.
Meanwhile, at another part of the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, five goslings were being taught to look for food by their mother.
Here’s another view of four of the goslings.
A Diamondback Terrapin crossed Wildlife Drive at EBF right in front of me. It stopped and so did I to grab my camera and take the following pictures. As soon as it saw me get out of the car, the turtle scurried to hide behind some rocks.
Time between the two shots: 12 seconds.
Yesterday at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge I stopped to check on an Osprey couple. At the same time, the male Osprey flew back to the nest with a sizable fish in his claws. He glided by the female who was sitting in the nest incubating.
Then he went to a perch and proceeded to eat the head of the fish.
After about 15 minutes, the male Osprey probably had its fill, stopped eating and defecated!
Then he took the fish to his patient mate. She saw him flying to her and rose up in their nest.
He gave her the fish.
She grabbed what remained of the fish and flew away to the same perch he had used.
At the perch, before she ate, she looked back one more time to make sure that he was going to sit on their eggs.
He of course sat down and took his turn incubating.
Only then did she start eating.
On Monday, as soon as I entered the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, I noticed some commotion going on in the reeds. A bald eagle was diving for a fish, there was a splash of water, wings beating furiously. It all happened very fast, and I had only time to take out my camera and take this one shot.
The eagle did not catch anything!