It was his shape that caught my eye as I rounded a corner to a small pond. He sat perfectly still, until he was GONE!
Or Follow The Food
Dolphin can be hard to spot from shore until they break the surface but this Bonaparte’s Gull served as a great marker for me. You can just make out the young Dolphin below and to the left of the bird.
With an idea where the animal is there is some chance of capturing an image of him above the water, like this:
I had the pleasure of speaking with Lauren Rust, founder of The Lowcountry Marine Mammal Network (www.lmmn.org), while I was watching the Dolphins in the Kiawah River on March 18. She spends a lot of time monitoring the local Dolphin and shared with me that this behavior goes on regularly and she has wondered if it is the same few Gulls who have figured this out. The Dolphin is a two year old who still stays pretty close to its mother, who was feeding nearby.
These two had developed an understanding. and if you zoom in on the next image you’ll see the Gull got a fish just as the Dolphin ducked under the water.
It appeared that the Bonaparte’s Gull was following the Dolphin, which presumably was following fish.
Lastly, a wider view of the unlikely pair, taken on the Kiawah side of the river, looking towards Seabrook Island.
Conditions shaped up nicely on Wednesday to head to Beachwalker Park on Kiawah Island to observe Dolphins feeding. Timing was good, with low tide about 10:30am. Strand feeding, the method peculiar to this area of South Carolina’s coast where Dolphin drive fish to the shore, tends to happen two hours either side of the low tide.
For a couple of hours the light was good and I was pleased to get this sequence, which was much less vigorous than previous times I’ve witnessed this behavior. The Dolphin seemed to be lolling around in the shallow water, not zooming full speed ahead.
Other times I’ve seen this as a cooperative effort but this Dolphin was on her own.
My position and the shape of the sand bank cut off some of the action.
I got a little closer before the Dolphin flipped around and caught a fish.
Once again I was amazed the power of these animals which is evident in the splash of water and waves that rushed to shore.
It turns out that it was a good thing I went Wednesday. As of today all of the area beaches are closed due to Covid-19 concerns.
Ted spotted them when I was driving and of course yelled “stop!” He got out of the car but I could not–it wasn’t a safe place to pull over plus I didn’t want to spook the pigs.
It was almost sunset with the sun was already down below the trees. I got a few images out the car window at a bad angle, in between watching out for cars running up behind us.
I was amazed how jet black this last little fellow was.
I expect Ted will have a variety of pictures and maybe a better story to tell.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Oliver and his owner.
Oliver was buckled into the front seat of the truck for safety; they were about to head for home after a short road trip.
I got the impression that Oliver did not care where they were headed, he was quite happy to be along for the ride.
He looks a bit like a Huskie and clearly had eyes for his owner.
All ready here, just waiting on my pal.
Oliver had a clear view out the front, until nap time, which comes with a pillow in this well equipped truck.
I had no idea what this was when I first spotted movement on the edge of an oyster bed. I had ducks on my mind as I’d seen them here before.
Those sharp oyster shells seem like a hazardous place for a Mink to hang out but he seemed at home here.
He came fully out of the water moving to the right, I changed position to see where he went. He did a u-turn and disappeared into the water. A short but interesting encounter.
A Tree Frog, almost hiding in plain sight.
The big leaf was bouncing in the breeze with the frog just enjoying the ride.
White-tailed Deer are one of the mammals on Saint Phillips Island, and this one was not at all disturbed by a passing pickup truck and trailer with 20 humans watching him.
It was hot that day and I hadn’t even seen a squirrel, so was rather surprised to see this buck.
He finally did stand up, but showed no alarm.
A family of Raccoons wandered along the edge of the marsh under a pier where I was standing. I got a few shots as they disappeared into the taller grass. It was one of those interesting things to see but a missed photographic opportunity. Or so I thought.
About ten minutes later the masked bandits made a return trip, this time coming towards me.
What could be so interesting up on this dead branch?
They was not be a group shot as they continued weaving in and out of the taller grass and shrubs.
They were cautious, but continued towards the pier.
This one appeared to be the ring leader, maybe a parent although they were all the same size. He stood watch while the others went back into the tall grass before he followed.
I thought the Dolphin from yesterday’s post, Dolphin Splash, would move on when the first big splash was done. I stood still, watching and was surprise he circled again in the same spot.
This time even more water went into the air…
… making a cool fountain shape.
I got a couple glimpses of the Dolphin’s fin, but again did not see if he got anything to eat.
Then he really did move on and this was the last I saw of him.