Correction: Pine Warbler

We get tons of House finches at our feeders but the goldfinches only show up on occasion.  I am kind of  a novice at bird identification so I was pretty sure this is a female goldfinch but, it is actually a male Pine Warbler.  It seems that there are a few different finches and warblers that are close to the same size and have the yellow color as well as the black wings with white stripes.

I’m hoping that we see some male goldfinches soon since the color is brighter and it’s pretty easy to pick them out.  They really add some great color to contrast with the other birds we see often.  Lately, it’s been woodpeckers, cardinals, blue jays, house finches, chickadees, wrens, titmouse and nuthatches at the feeders most often.  We see morning doves, towhees, and brown thrashers on the ground and hummingbirds at the flowers and feeders.

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
450mm @ f/10 – 1/30 sec – ISO 400

White Lotus

The Atlanta Botanical Garden in Gainesville has a nice water lily pond just outside it’s main entrance to the garden.  There is a mix of Egyptian Lotus type lilies like this one and tropical lilies which you more often see.

This was much more challenging of a shot than I thought it would be.  This white lotus was near the edge of the pond but to see the yellow center, you had to go way off to the side and lean over the rail.  I wanted to get in as close as I could to capture the center of the flower and the rain drops that covered the petals.  It took some chair moving and lots of changing of angles before I found a good vantage point.

The calm water behind this flower made for a beautiful background and I am pleased with the final image.  Hope you like it too.

Atlanta Botanical Garden
Gainesville, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
300mm @ f/8 – 1/400 sec – ISO 400

The REAL Hilton Head Lighthouse

Here’s a trivia question for people who have visited Hilton Head Island – Where can you find the Hilton Head lighthouse?  If you answered Harbour Town, you are only partly correct.  The well known Harbour Town Light was privately built as part of Harbour Town Marina and Sea Pines Plantation.

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Harbour Town Light

There is another lighthouse on Hilton Head that most people don’t know about.  Officially, it is called the Hilton Head Range Rear Light  and it is located on Hole 15 of the Arthur Hills Golf Course in the Leamington section of the Palmetto Dunes Resort.

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Leamington Light and Oil House

It is quite an unusual and historic lighthouse but is out of the way and so, not very well known.  The remaining structure is the interior cast-iron skeleton of what was once a wooden-clad tower that would look more like the traditional lights that we are used to.  The tower is called the “Rear” light because there were originally two towers.  The front light no longer exists but when operational, ships would line up beams from the two lights to give them an exact location when navigating the channel of Port Royal Sound.

The rear tower still stands along with the original brick Oil House.  The keeper’s house was moved and now is in Harbour Town near the more famous of Hilton Head’s lights.

 

To get to the lighthouse, you need to gain entrance to the Leamington neighborhood with is gated and requires special permission to enter.  We were staying in the Palmetto Dunes resort and got a pass to get in and view the light but we wouldn’t have known it exists if we hadn’t read about it.  The light is not on the shoreline and is not visible from a distance.  We actually drove right by it when we first went in so, you really have to know where to look in order to find it.

Hilton Head Range Rear Light
(a.k.a. Leamington Light)
Arthur Hills Golf Course
Palmetto Dunes – Leamington
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
38mm @ f/11 – 1/200 sec – ISO 200

Snakebird

I first saw this bird sunning on a branch along the edge of Woody Pond at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge.  It was not a familiar species to me and I initially thought it was a cormorant.

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Anhinga sunning at Woody Pond

The Anhinga’s name comes from the Brazilian Tupi language and means devil bird or snake bird. The origin of this name is obvious when the bird is swimming. It swims with the body submerged and just ‘s long, slender head and neck the above the water so the bird looks like a snake ready to strike.

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The “snake bird” with catfish

The Anhinga pictured above had just caught a catfish and was swimming back and forth with the prey speared on the end of its beak.  At first, the fish was flapping about but the bird held it and waited for the wriggling to stop.  The Anhinga then flipped the fish up quickly to release it from the beak. After a little juggling to re-position, the fish was quickly swallowed whole.

This was quite a process to watch.

 

North American Anhinga
(Anhinga anhinga leucogaster)

Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge
Townsend, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
420mm @ f/9 – 1/80 sec – ISO 320

Blue Heron on the watch

On a more serious note, yesterday’s post was a juvenile tri-colored heron which was an awkward and humorous bird to see.  This blue heron is much more representative of the beautiful birds that adult herons are.  I also loved the patterns in the driftwood that provided a nice spot for this one to stand and enjoy the morning.

It is a great adventure to watch and capture images of the beauty and diversity that nature has to offer.  Time to get out and enjoy it!

Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge
Townsend, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/9 – 1/100 sec – ISO 320

Hay, I’m hungry!

Baby birds fall into one of two categories – 1. Cute little balls of fluff and 2. Weird, gangly, bizarre looking creatures.  In the case of tri-colored herons, they fall into the second category at least until the feathers come in.  The rookery at Pinckney Island had a lot of odd looking chicks and a smaller number of cute ones.

It was also full of birds fighting over territory and protecting the nests.  It is amazing, with all the birds that flock to the same place to nest, that any of them survive all the squabbling that goes on but somehow, they seem to do OK.  The rookery is also surrounded by marsh and swampland that is home to a fair number of alligators.  I would have thought there would be a better spot for birds to raise their young but they come back every year.

Juvenile Tri-Colored Heron
(Egretta tricolor)

Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge
Bluffton, SC

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/16 – 1/100 sec – ISO 400

Pink Dragonfly

I think this is a Roseate Skimmer Dragonfly (Orthemis ferruginea) but I’m not sure about that.  Anybody out there an expert on dragonfly identification?

I was told by Mike Moats that the best time for Dragonfly images is early on a cold morning.  He said those conditions cause the insects to be very slow-moving which allows you to get in close and not spook them off.  It seems that hot and humid may not be too bad a combination either.

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While we were at Harris Neck NWR in Townsend, Georgia, the butterflies and dragonflies flitted about the rim of Woody Pond but when they landed, they stayed in place for quite a while.  This pink specimen was sitting at the end of a reed and didn’t seem to be bothered at all by my photography.  It probably helped that I was using my long lens and was not all that close but he didn’t move at all, even when the wind occaisionally picked up.

Roseate Skimmer Dragonfly
(Orthemis ferruginea)

Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge
Townsend, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/9 – 1/125 sec – ISO 320