Tag Archives: Feeding

Bonaparte’s Gull vs Forster’s Tern

The Bonaparte’s Gull and Forster’s Tern look a lot alike and I always have to check a reference when I see either. I happened to capture one of each in similar poses during my recent beach visit.

Bonaparte’s Gull Feeding
Bonaparte’s Gull Feeding

The gull is slightly larger, but when you see them zooming along above the ocean waves that is hard to tell.

Forster's Tern Fishing
Forster’s Tern Fishing

Forster’s Tern

After watching the relatively sedate Bonaparte’s Gulls Feeding at the beach a Forster’s Tern came along and showed off some different flying skills.

Forster's Tern Fishing
Forster’s Tern Fishing

It was all about speed.

Forster's Tern Fishing
Forster’s Tern Fishing

Hover, dive and repeat.

Forster's Tern Fishing
Forster’s Tern Fishing

With the rolling waves and lack of contrast I didn’t get a full splash down image.

Forster's Tern Fishing
Forster’s Tern Fishing

Yes, they are fast!

Forster's Tern Fishing
Forster’s Tern Fishing

In between stronger gusts of wind the tern hovered higher over the water as he looked for food.

Forster's Tern Fishing
Forster’s Tern Fishing

Bonaparte’s Gulls Feeding

There is not much contrast in these images of a pair of Bonaparte’s Gulls feeding in the ocean surf. The day was dull and the birds coloration mostly matches the water, with only their black wing-tips and orange feet standing out.

Bonaparte's Gull Pair Feeding
Bonaparte’s Gull Pair Feeding

However, they were fun to watch and gulls are great practice for in-flight bird photography due to their relatively slow speed and predictability.

Bonaparte's Gull Pair Feeding
Bonaparte’s Gull Pair Feeding

It was also windy and this pair was expending a tremendous amount of energy for what was small food. Whatever they were catching they quickly swallowed without me seeing it.

Bonaparte's Gull Pair Feeding
Bonaparte’s Gull Pair Feeding

They dropped in and lifted out of the water with ease and flew in tandem as they moved up the beach.

Bonaparte's Gull Pair Feeding
Bonaparte’s Gull Pair Feeding

Myrtle Beach State Park, SC,  3/17/2019

Big Meal for GBH Chick

Great Blue Heron chicks have started to hatch around the rookery and Tuesday I spotted one in a high nest sticking his head up.

The first few days the adults will tear food apart and give it to their chicks. As the chicks grow, which happens pretty quickly, the adult dangles food in front of the chicks encouraging them to grab their own meal.

Great Blue Heron Adult and Chick, with Frog
Great Blue Heron Adult and Chick, with Frog

Either this chick couldn’t figure out how to get a bite of frog or wasn’t hungry, but after a minute or so the chick lost his chance.

Great Blue Heron Adult and Chick, with Frog
Great Blue Heron Adult and Chick, with Frog

It took a minute or so of concentrated effort, but the adult ate the frog in one bite.

Great Blue Heron Adult and Chick, with Frog
Great Blue Heron Adult and Chick, with Frog

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker All In

Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are named for their behavior of drilling small  holes in trees then drinking the sap that runs into the wells. They get most of their food that way but also feed on insects they find under tree bark.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

I’ve seen them peck at bark, mostly on the rough-barked trees and was surprised to see this one bobbing into a tree cavity. He was just about disappearing from my view as he reached in.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

I didn’t see what, if anything, the Sapsucker was finding, but he kept at it for longer than I watched.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker