40 Degrees, 20-30 MPH Wind, Rain…

I’d been home bound for 3 days due to unseasonable weather. I was developing a case of cabin fever, when I remembered: I’m from Minnesota.

Off we go to Magnolia. I fired up the internal furnace and threw on a T-shirt and rain shell. I was more than comfortable.

Anhinga

The swamp produced one cold Anhinga, a bunch of ducks, and not much else. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t duck weather. Ducks don’t like the wind any more than we do. You see them flying around a lot in windy weather, that is true. They are looking for a calm place to sit out the storm.

I walked on down past the offices and headed for the boat landing lagoon. There were a few hardy tourists around, but no other photographers. The light was poor, the sky and the water were grey, and to be honest I wasn’t expecting any great images out of the trip. I came home with more than I expected.

A dozen or more gulls were having a feeding frenzy on small fish. Unfortunately, most of the fish weren’t small enough. Time after time they would dive on one, only to drop it. Then, another gull would come in behind them, pick up the same fish, and drop it again. Once in a while they found one small enough. But, there were many rejected as I watch them for several minutes.

As I ran through a bunch of shots, I thought maybe the action would attract an Osprey. I’d seen Ospreys be attracted to Gull feeding before. But nope, not today.

Eventually I moved on down the dike as far as I could without trespassing into No-Man’s land. As I stepped down the side of the dike closer to the water, a flock of Teal flushed. They’d been holding tight against the dike to get out of the strong wind. When they jumped, they were no more than 15 feet from me.

Last duck on left, Cinnamon Teal.

I’m always happy when I can get captures of ducks, but I was especially tickled to see a Cinnamon Teal mixed in with the Blue Wings.

I thought about heading home, but decided to take a walk down the river trail to see what might be hiding along that bank. I changed my camera settings in case a song bird might show up. Suddenly, I saw a different shape mixed in with vultures and gulls over the Lagoon. Immature Bald Eagle. This is what it looks like at 1/320th of a second. 🙂

Bad shot.
Not much better shot.

The eagle circled the small island in the lagoon a couple of times. I couldn’t see what was out there; maybe a Gallinule or Coot. Then, it took off in the direction of the tree where they frequently perch. I heard a few crows start making noise, so I thought maybe it had landed there. I headed back to the tree, but no eagle. I could hear the crows for several more minutes as I made my way to the truck. Crows hate Eagles and chase them. Blackbirds chase Crows. Smaller birds chase Blackbirds. So it goes.

I walked through the gardens and saw some strange critters, not native to the area. Rumor has it they will be wintering here until March.

That’s a wrap! Nature is always putting on a show for us. All we have to do is get out there and find it.

Published by Larry Maras

Nature Photographer in Summerville, SC.

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