I went to Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) yesterday to check out the Ibis Pond rookery. It has been cleaned up by clearing the shorelines after some selective burning, and access to the pond shore is easier than before. The rookery island hasn’t been touched, but one wonders whether the shoreline cleanup has affected the “privacy” of the activity to come. I found five (maybe six) alligators and several water birds, including the pied-bill grebe pictured here. These little guys are real dive-bombers. They skitter around and suddenly dive for the bottom, disappearing from view for several seconds at a time, and resurface a few feet away. I enjoyed watching this one feed.
The rookery was almost unoccupied; I only saw two egrets and no ibis, at least no ibis in the rookery. Note the green coloration in front of the eye on the egret shown here, an indication that nesting may be starting. I could not get a full view of the egret to confirm full breeding plumage, but hopefully this sighting is the beginning of activity to come later in the season. Two years ago there was lots of activity here in early May, so perhaps March is still a bit too early.