Hundreds of birds nested on Bird Key this summer and the land and sky were full of activity on this July day.
Most of the birds on land seen here are Brown Pelicans, the smaller white ones are chicks. The chicks were awkwardly walking, but not yet flying. There were lots of Laughing Gulls that provided constant noise, and a few White Ibis mixed in.
On the outer edge of the island, the open Atlantic Ocean beyond, a sand bar has formed that was popular spot for preening.
Taken from a boat at Bird Key Stono Heritage Preserve
Between Kiawah Island and Folly Beach, SC
The rookery islands do not rise much above sea level which is one of the reasons the Brown Pelican nests have a low success rate. Over wash from storm driven tides can and has easily wiped out whole colonies on this and other barrier islands.
The bird chaos was amazing with numerous species in addition to the Brown Pelicans using the island. Snowy Egrets, Tricolored Herons, and Laughing Gulls were well represented.
This view is the sea-ward end of the island, with the shore crowded with Brown Pelicans and Laughing Gulls. The island down to the low tide mark is a protected preserve.
Shore access is not allowed during nesting season; these images were all taken from a boat at a shutter speed of 1/2000th of a second to help compensate for the boat movement.
About forty-five minutes before sundown the sun peaked beneath some clouds and lit up the tree at the end of the rookery. White Ibis filled most of the tree, but a few Great Egrets, Roseate Spoonbills, and Little Blue Herons can be seen in between.
Birds were continuing to arrive but unfortunately for me the area closed and I had to leave.