Category Archives: Water Birds

Laughing Gulls: The Chase Is On

They were too far away for me to really see what this pair of Laughing Gulls was doing, but from the intense pursuit food seemed the likely inspiration.

Laughing Gulls, One With Food
Laughing Gulls, One With Food

They put on quite an acrobatic show.

Laughing Gulls, One With Food
Laughing Gulls, One With Food

Flying upside down, and hanging onto the fish…

Laughing Gulls, One With Food
Laughing Gulls, One With Food

They kept on moving, beyond where I could photograph them. I’m not sure either one got a meal out of their adventure.

Laughing Gulls, One With Food
Laughing Gulls, One With Food

Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, SC
September 14, 2022

Common Gallinule Chicks

A few Common Gallinule chicks were paddling around at the edge of Mary’s House Pond. They moved out into the water a bit as I drove by and I captured these out the car window.

Common Gallinule Chick
Common Gallinule Chick

This one seemed to suddenly realize his mates had moved off without him.

Common Gallinule Chick
Common Gallinule Chick

Wait for me!

Common Gallinule Chick
Common Gallinule Chick

Where’d they go?

Common Gallinule Chick
Common Gallinule Chick

An adult wasn’t far off, showing how to get a meal.

Common Gallinule Adult and Chicks
Common Gallinule Adult and Chicks

Safety in numbers, the family stuck pretty close together.

Common Gallinule Chick
Common Gallinule Chicks

Bear Island Wildlife Management Area, SC
August 31, 2022

Common Gallinule Learning The Ropes

My apologies if anyone gets notice of this post twice. I picked the wrong post to schedule, after this had already posted, and now can’t undo it. 🙃

We often refer to Common Gallinules as the early warning system. Any bird in the area who didn’t know we are coming does after what All About Birds describes as

“all sorts of chickenlike clucks, whinnies, cackles, squawks, and yelps. They often call while hidden from view, leaving you wondering what lurks in the marsh. The rapid series of clucks sounds vaguely raptorlike, but the series often ends with what sounds like a laugh.”

The clatter is often accompanied by or followed by them running across the water. The whole business is quite startling for all concerned.

Adult and Juvenile Common Gallinule
Adult and Juvenile Common Gallinule

This young bird appeared to be trying out his vocal skills, but I never heard a peep.

Adult and Juvenile Common Gallinule
Adult and Juvenile Common Gallinule

Mom just paddled along, saving the water running for another lesson.

Adult and Juvenile Common Gallinule
Adult and Juvenile Common Gallinule

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Charleston, SC
July 29, 2022

Black Skimmers, Every Which Way

I hardly knew which way to look when this flock of Black Skimmers was actively feeding.

Black Skimmer Flock Feeding
Black Skimmer Flock Feeding,

The sun was just up, but behind a cloud bank so the light was dim.

Black Skimmer Flock Feeding
Black Skimmer Flock Feeding

This entire pond is normally under water, but was drained for a couple of weeks to help control vegetation.

Black Skimmer Flock Feeding
Black Skimmer Flock Feeding

This has a bonus effect for feeding birds as any fish are concentrated in a smaller pool of water.

Black Skimmer Flock Feeding
Black Skimmer Flock Feeding

Bear Island Wildlife Management Area, SC
May 9, 2022

American White Pelicans, Late In Season

We were surprised to find American White Pelicans at Donnelley on May 15, thinking they had long flown north for the summer.

American White Pelicans
American White Pelicans

A dozen or so were around the pond and a few paddled closer, occasionally feeding but mostly just bobbing around.

American White Pelicans
American White Pelicans

An Alligator paddled by, too; they ignored him.

American White Pelicans
American White Pelicans and American Alligator

A wider view with the Pelicans moving towards the back of the pond.

American White Pelicans, Vultures in Spoonie Tree, Big Pond at Donnelley WMA

Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, SC
May 15, 2022