Category Archives: Shore Birds

Greater Yellowlegs Hunting

This Greater Yellowlegs was working a shallow pond.

Greater Yellowlegs
Greater Yellowlegs

He was quick.

Greater Yellowlegs
Greater Yellowlegs

And successful!

Greater Yellowlegs
Greater Yellowlegs

His selection might have been a bit too big.

Greater Yellowlegs
Greater Yellowlegs

Rearrange it, then swallow.

Greater Yellowlegs
Greater Yellowlegs

Let’s look for more.

Greater Yellowlegs
Greater Yellowlegs

I’m going with the Merlin Bird ID suggestion that this is the Greater Yellowlegs, not the Lesser Yellowlegs. The distinction is in a comparison of their beak size to their head size: the Greater YL’s beak is 1.5 times the size of his head, with the Lesser YL’s beak being much shorter.

Greater Yellowlegs
Greater Yellowlegs

April 25, 2019

Young Dolphin and Bonaparte’s Gull

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.

Bonaparte's Gull Fishing Around Dolphin
Bonaparte’s Gull Hovering Over Dolphin

With an idea where the animal is there is some chance of capturing an image of him above the water, like this:

Bonaparte's Gull Fishing Around Dolphin
Bonaparte’s Gull Fishing Around Dolphin

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.

Bonaparte's Gull Floating With Dolphin
Bonaparte’s Gull Floating With Dolphin

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.

Bonaparte's Gull Fishing Around Dolphin
Bonaparte’s Gull Fishing Around Dolphin

It appeared that the Bonaparte’s Gull was following the Dolphin, which presumably was following fish.

Bonaparte's Gull Floating With Dolphin
Bonaparte’s Gull Floating With Dolphin

Lastly, a wider view of the unlikely pair, taken on the Kiawah side of the river, looking towards Seabrook Island.

Bonaparte's Gull Fishing Around Dolphin
Bonaparte’s Gull Fishing Around Dolphin

Plover at Sunset

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.

Plover in the Surf
Plover at the Surf’s Edge

The sun was almost down, creating a pink reflection in the receding Atlantic surf.

Plover in the Surf
Plover in the Surf

The Plover came a bit closer to me as I waited watched the sun go down.

Plover
Plover

Black Skimmers Buzzing the Beach

The noise of a flock of birds reached my brain as I was concentrating on some Willets in the beach surf. Ah, Skimmers!

Black Skimmers in Flight
Black Skimmers in Flight

I diverted my attention and dropped down to my knees, hoping the flock would show off their skimming skills right in front of me.

Black Skimmers in Flight
Black Skimmers in Flight

Alas, they had other ideas.

Black Skimmers in Flight
Black Skimmers in Flight

And soon disappeared from my sight.

Black Skimmers in Flight
Black Skimmers in Flight