Thank Ceiling Cat that readers came through with some photos, though I always need more. Got some?
Today we hear from reader Doug Hayes in Richmond, Virginia, whose contribution is called “Morning at the swamp.” Doug’s narrative and IDs are indented, and you can enlarge his photos by clicking on them:
My neighbor got word that the anhingas (Anhinga anhinga) were back at Chamberlayne Swamp, so we headed out for an early morning trip. This is the second year the birds have been spotted in the Richmond area. Last year, one pair successfully bred and hatched at least one offspring. This year, more of the anhingas have made the swamp their home. When we arrived, there were four birds preening and drying their feathers while perched in a circle of dead trees. After an hour or so, the group took off together for parts unknown to spend the rest of the day. Probably along the James River, where fishing is better.
A bit later, I spotted a killdeer (Charadrius vociferus), hunting for insects and crustaceans in the mud near the shore. Another one of the regular “bird nerds” arrived and told us of an Eastern kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) nest she had located on a previous trip to the swamp. As luck would have it, we were able to find the nest and watched as the parents took turns hunting for insects to feed the ravenous babies. Thanks to digital zoom and my telephoto lens, I was able to stay well away from the nest.
A pair of anhingas preening and drying their feathers:
Just keeping a watch on the swamp:
Might be a fish: [JAC: you see why anhingas are sometimes called “snakebirds”]
Nothing much happening this morning:
About time to get moving:
Ready for flight:
The group circles the swamp a few times, then take off for a better fishing spot:
A killdeer looking for a meal:
Keeping a watchful eye on the camera:
A pair of baby Eastern kingbirds waiting for breakfast:
One of the parents arrives with a dragonfly. The two of them made several trips to and from the nest as we watched:
Down the hatch!:
Camera info: Sony A7R5 body, Sony FE 200-600mm zoom lens plus 1.4X teleconverter, Clearview digital zoom at an additional 2X magnification, iFootage Cobra 2 monopod and Neewer gimbal tripod head.