Willet On the Shore

Although I have seen a Willet in flight it is more common to see them walking the shore, poking the surf and sand for food.

Willet
Willet patrolling the shore

I didn’t see where he captured this fish but he took it to a wide open expanse of beach to consume it, alone. It’s size slowed him down. Just swallowing it wasn’t an option.

Willet
Willet with a good sized catch

The pools left by the falling tide attract the Willets. Calmer than the ocean surf they often are a concentrated food source as the water drains away.

Willet
Willet in a beach pool

They will completely immerse their heads looking for food, tipping like a bobbing garden ornament.

Willet Dunking his Head
Willet Dunking his Head

More of the Peeps

We’ve been to the beach a lot lately to see the Dolphins and Black Skimmers. The sandpipers go about their business in and around whatever else is going on, usually at the edge of the water.

Shorebird Peep
Shorebird – click on photo for larger view

Sometimes they are happy to forage around the bumps and undulations of dried sand left as the tide goes out. Whatever they are looking for must be tiny as you hardly ever see what they find to eat.

Shorebird Peep
Shorebird – click on photo for larger view

 

Synchronized Dolphins

The tide was coming in working against the river flowing out. A group of about a dozen Dolphins worked up and down the mouth of the river giving fleeting glimpses of fins, tails, and head bobs, mostly out in the middle of the river.

Pair of Dolphins
Pair of Dolphins

Dolphins hunt for food cooperatively and I have seen pairs and groups of 4 or 5 working together. Often it is hard to tell how many because they aren’t visible at the same time and can travel long distances under water. This pair showed off a few elegant moves before they went on their way.

Pair of Dolphins
Pair of Dolphins

Folly Beach County Park, SC.

White Ibis

Ibis always make me smile. They chatter, a lot, in an “unmusical” way according to All About Birds. There is no mistaking them for something else, by sound or sight with that big beakA small group took off as we rounded the corner of the rice field and this one landed in a tree hanging over the path, nicely framed by the turning leaves.

White Ibis
White Ibis Staring Down

He didn’t stay in the tree long, spotting some of the others who had landed in some open water at the edge of the marsh.

White Ibis
White Ibis in Flight

He touched down gently on the other side of the path showing off his black wing tips.

White Ibis
White Ibis Landing

Click on any photo for larger view.

Willet in Flight

Willits are one of the shorebirds that poke around at the edge of the shore or at the edges of small ponds and inlets along the ocean. They look pretty drab until they take flight.

Willet in Flight
Willet in Flight

The distinguished white and black stripes that show on their wings set them apart from the Dowitchers and Yellowlegs.

Willet in Flight
Willet in Flight

This one came to shore where I was waiting for Dolphins and headed for a pool left on the beach by the falling tide.

Willet in Flight
Willet in Flight

Click on any photo for larger view.

Dolphins Moving Water

The bank of the river is very steep here which not only helps the Dolphin corral fish to feed on but it creates a funnel wave up the shore. I could hear the water coming and didn’t want to miss the Dolphin, but I think the funnel may have been a more interesting photograph. I’ll need to see this a few more times to get placed properly for the best shot.

Dolphin Feeding
Dolphin Feeding

He’s in there somewhere. Amazingly fast and agile, Dolphins create a swirl in the water as they zoom by.

Dolphin Feeding
Dolphin Feeding

The splash was quite dramatic as he made a turn, sending an incredible amount of water airborne.

Dolphin Feeding
Dolphin Feeding

There is at least 1000 feet of river shoreline where the Dolphins were feeding this day, and with their speed it was tough to choose a place to stand.

Dolphin Feeding
Dolphin Feeding

Belted Kingfisher

I’ve posted photos of a Belted Kingfisher at this location before, posing on the beams of the re-purposed bridge. This visit did not disappoint as I spotted this female posing on a rotting piling, first squawking at a passing Snowy Egret.

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher

She was then content to turn this way, then that way.

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher

The afternoon sun lit her and the post up.

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher

Then she was done. The tide was going out so we hoped that she was fishing and would return with a snack as we have seen her do. We waited for about five minutes and presumed she moved on to another of her favorite spots.

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher

Gathered Around

The Cormorants were content drying their wings on the Alligator ramp as a murky sun warmed the afternoon. A Great Blue Heron came along and disrupted their peace.

Gathering Spot
Great Blue Heron coming in, Cormorants holding their territory

The Cormorants did not surrender their ground despite some posturing from the Great Blue.

Gathering Spot
Great Blue Heron puffed up

An Alligator popped up to see what was happening as I continued along my walk.

Gathering Spot
Great Blue Heron, Cormorants, and Alligator