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.
The sun was up but had ducked behind a cloud that was low on the horizon, creating a milky light. The water was shallow and this American Avocet was among the birds taking advantage of the easy feeding.
The Merlin Bird ID App says this is most likely a Black-bellied Plover, or possibly an American Golden Plover. South Carolina is well within the winter migration range of both species and both sport a “black belly” during breeding season which happens in the arctic tundra.
The sun was almost down, creating a pink reflection in the receding Atlantic surf.
The Plover came a bit closer to me as I waited watched the sun go down.
There’s something about having sand between your toes that is satisfying.
Oystercatcher U5 was reported to the American Oystercatcher Working Group.
The American Oystercatcher Working Group seeks to develop, support and implement range-wide research and management efforts that promote the conservation of Atlantic coast American Oystercatchers and their habitats through individual and partnership-based initiatives guided by recommendations of the Working Group’s membership. http://amoywg.org/