Rainy Days and Sundays Don’t Get Me Down.

Getting out of bed late, the sky was dark. I waited until it lightened up a bit, then asked my bride if she was interested in a trip to Magnolia. She declined, and I left her to enjoy her alone time, and three cats.

It was misting slightly as I left home, but here in the Lowcountry weather changes rapidly so I headed out anyway. Sure enough, by the time I got to the plantation it had stopped.

My chosen route lately takes me to the swamp first because of the light. Today it didn’t matter, but I walked up there anyway. A Pileated Woodpecker awarded me with my first–long distance–capture.

Because of the conditions, I raised the ISO a bit and upped the exposure compensation one full stop.

Moving on to Ravenswood, a hawk immediately flushed from one of the islands and headed to the opposite shore.

Red Shouldered Hawk

I followed his flight and saw that it was joining another RSH.

This back corner of Ravenswood has always been a bit of a hot spot, and with good cover I decided to get closer.

The eyes of a Red Shouldered Hawk are unique. You can’t capture the golden translucent appearance unless bright light is directly on them. Not going to happen today.

A shot from a sunnier day shows you what I mean.

Juvenile Red Shouldered Hawk

The partner awaits.

There were several Ibis poking around in the marsh beneath the hawks, and I expect they were hoping to steal a morsel. By now, I’m sure they knew I was there, but as long as I kept a respectable distance, they didn’t seem to care.

I thought about waiting for an in-flight shot, but I had just gotten there and didn’t know long the rain would hold off. So, I retreated quietly and left them to hunt in peace.

A Eastern Bluebird greeted me, and I counted 7 nests with at least one Great Blue Heron in them, and 3 with 2 birds.

Ducks!! I love ducks.

Gadwall Ducks

Ducks in flight are a challenge to capture. Their speed demands a fast shutter speed. That means higher ISO on darker days like today, and a more open aperture.

The mist was starting again, and I still wanted to hit the boat landing so off I go. Swinging by the eagle tree, it is empty. Not much around the boat landing lagoon either. There has been a Great Blue Heron guarding what looks to be a good spot for a nest on the opposite shore, by the eagle tree. It would be nice to have a pair raise some chicks down there. What a treat for the boat tours in the spring!

I glance up at the eagle tree to see it occupied now, and so retrace my steps to get a shot.

In particular, Bald Eagles seem to be hard to capture in poor light. They lack the depth and definition you find in captures on a bright day, as you see below.

The rain has begun in earnest now, so that’s it for me. I’ve only been here about an hour, but I am satisfied with the results. What a treat to have a place like Magnolia Plantation so close to where we live.

See you out there!

Published by Larry Maras

Nature Photographer in Summerville, SC.

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