Category Archives: Water Birds

Anhinga Swimming Freestyle

I thought I might see this Anhinga dive and catch a fish. Instead she swam passed me, rhythmically arching her neck back and forth as she propelled forward.

Anhinga Swimming
Anhinga Swimming

And she dropped lower in the water.

Anhinga Swimming
Anhinga Swimming

I wondered

Anhinga Swimming
Anhinga Swimming

how low

Anhinga Swimming
Anhinga Swimming

would she go? And why didn’t she dive?

Anhinga Swimming
Anhinga Swimming

She was making steady progress and after a few more beats rose back up a bit and swam out of my sight scoring points for style but not getting any breakfast.

Bear Island Wildlife Management Area, SC
Rice field canal
August 29, 2021

Brown Pelican Over Surf

There was a lot going on at Bird Key and it was hard to focus on just one bird. The boat was moving, many of the birds were moving and every which way, the water was moving…you get the idea.

Brown Pelicans
Brown Pelicans

I did follow this one Pelican flying along the shore, hoping to see him land.

Brown Pelicans
Brown Pelicans

He flew over another Pelican frolicking in the surf and past some Laughing Gulls.

Brown Pelicans
Brown Pelicans

The Pelican in the water started flapping like he was going to take off.

Brown Pelicans
Brown Pelicans

I’m not sure now if this was the flying bird settling into the water, or the flapper who just sunk back down for some more spa treatment from the surf.

Brown Pelicans
Brown Pelicans

Taken from a boat at Bird Key Stono Heritage Preserve
Between Kiawah Island and Folly Beach, SC

July 12, 2021

Brown Pelicans Off Duty

On our way out to Bird Key to see the Brown Pelican chicks we spotted several small groups of adults flying to sand bars.

Brown Pelicans
Brown Pelicans

According to our guide the adults assign a baby-sitter Pelican at the rookery then find a place to rest.

Brown Pelicans
Brown Pelicans

They certainly picked a beautiful, if sparse, location.

Brown Pelicans
Brown Pelicans

From a boat, Kiawah River, Charleston County, SC
July 12, 2021

Brown Pelican Chicks On the Beach

These are a few more images of Brown Pelicans chicks showing the chicks interacting, very awkwardly.

Brown Pelican Adult and Two Chicks
Brown Pelican Adult and Two Chicks

Adult Brown Pelicans are somewhat awkward on land, and if you notice the feet you can see why.

Brown Pelican Adult and Two Chicks
Brown Pelican Adult and Two Chicks

 

As previously mentioned, I regret I didn’t use a higher shutter speed to offset some of the bobbing boat motion. The images are over-sharpened somewhat to try to make up for that, but I wanted to share them for the seldom seen chick behavior.

Taken from a boat at Bird Key Stono Heritage Preserve
Between Kiawah Island and Folly Beach, SC

July 12, 2021

 

Gulls Took To The Air

Danger, danger, fly, fly!

Can you spot the Eagle?

Birds in the Air over Bird Key, Stono
Birds in the Air, Eagle is about 1/4 of way in from the left, one of the top birds

This island has a lot of advantages for nesting birds, but it is not without risk. This time the Eagle appeared to leave without a meal.

Birds in the Air over Bird Key, Stono
Birds in the Air over Bird Key, Stono, Mostly Laughing Gulls

About a half hour later it happened again. We were further away from the action and I didn’t capture the Eagle, but this view gives an idea of how many birds are nesting on this little island. And how unconcerned the Pelicans appeared.

Birds in the Air over Bird Key, Stono
Birds in the Air over Bird Key, Stono

Taken from a boat at Bird Key Stono Heritage Preserve
Between Kiawah Island and Folly Beach, SC

July 12, 2021

Brown Pelican Chicks Getting Fed

Ted and I went on a guided boat adventure today that included watching juvenile Pelicans at Bird Key Stono Seabird Sanctuary, a significant nesting habitat for seabirds and shorebirds.

Two Brown Pelican Chicks Getting Fed By Parent
Two Brown Pelican Chicks Getting Fed By Parent

Taking pictures from a bobbing boat is a challenge and I regret I didn’t use a higher shutter speed. The chicks are very awkward walkers and not yet flying

Two Brown Pelican Chicks Getting Fed By Parent
Two Brown Pelican Chicks Getting Fed By Parent

Brown Pelican chicks feed a lot like the herons, with the young reaching down into the adult’s throat to get food, not the mouth pouch which is used to catch food.

Two Brown Pelican Chicks Getting Fed By Parent
Two Brown Pelican Chicks Getting Fed By Parent

Bird Key, not much more than a sandbar, is a barrier island that sits in the mouth of the Stono River, between Kiawah and Folly Islands.

Common Gallinule Chicks

The Common Gallinule chicks I saw last week wandered in and out of some pond-side vegetation going through the water, and sometimes just plomping down to rest.

Common Gallinule Chicks
Common Gallinule Chicks

The top of this little one’s head with the orange peaking through reminded me of the old tv ads for spray on hair for men.

Common Gallinule Chick
Common Gallinule Chick

The whole family came together after doing some individual exploring.

Common Gallinule Family
Common Gallinule Family

June 8, 2021

Got Feet?

Common Gallinules are in the Rail family, and have feet more like a chicken than a duck.

Common Gallinule Chick
Common Gallinule Chicks

These juveniles looked a bit awkward when they were resting, with their feet having grown faster than the rest of their bodies.

Common Gallinule Chick
Common Gallinule Chick

They had no trouble getting around; I saw them walking through some grass.

Common Gallinule Chick
Common Gallinule Chick

And then into shallow water.

Common Gallinule Chick
Common Gallinule Chick

June 8, 2021

Black Skimmer and Brown Pelican

I had been watching this Black Skimmer work his way around the inlets at Shem Creek at low tide.

Black Skimmer Flying by Brown Pelican
Black Skimmer Flying by Brown Pelican

I suspect he had a nest nearby as after this pass he took his catch out into the mouth of the creek…

Black Skimmer Flying by Brown Pelican
Black Skimmer Flying by Brown Pelican

… caught up to…

Black Skimmer Flying by Brown Pelican
Black Skimmer Flying by Brown Pelican

…and passed a Brown Pelican.

Black Skimmer Flying by Brown Pelican
Black Skimmer Flying by Brown Pelican

He disappeared from my sight. The Pelican stayed his course, gliding the whole time.

Black Skimmer Flying by Brown Pelican
Black Skimmer Flying by Brown Pelican