Tag Archives: Shore Bird

Landing in the Blue

This is one of the two birds from yesterday’s post, Shore Birds Wading, as he landed in the marsh inlet. About an hour after sunrise, the sky was completely blue making a nice water color which made up for the dull mud.

Shore Bird Landing
Shore Bird Landing

It was disappointing that the water stream in front of the bird wasn’t wide enough to get his entire reflection as he touched down.

Shore Bird Landing
Shore Bird Landing

Black Skimmer Through the Spoonies

Doing their own thing to get breakfast, a Black Skimmer and a flock of Roseate Spoonbills ignored each other.

Black Skimmer Passing Roseate Spoonbills
Black Skimmer Passing Roseate Spoonbills

I was focused on the Skimmer and didn’t expect him to pass that close to the Spoonbills.

Black Skimmer Passing Roseate Spoonbills
Black Skimmer Passing Roseate Spoonbills

The Skimmer made a second pass, probably realizing that the concentrated efforts of the other birds meant that they were on to something.

Black Skimmer Passing Roseate Spoonbills
Black Skimmer Passing Roseate Spoonbills

The Spoonbills continued sifting the water, not at all disturbed by the Skimmer.

Black Skimmer Passing Roseate Spoonbills
Black Skimmer Passing Roseate Spoonbills

Black Skimmer Skimming

This Black Skimmer gave me a good show with the early morning sun highlighting his black and orange beak, in contrast to last week’s pair that I photographed in poor light.

Black Skimmer in Flight
Black Skimmer in Flight, wings low to the water

I had a great view and was able to track his path as he crossed the pond with his lower jaw in the water.

Black Skimmer in Flight
Black Skimmer in Flight

He finally lifted, before making a big turn for another pass.

Black Skimmer in Flight
Black Skimmer in Flight

Click on any image for a closer view.

Bear Island Wildlife Management Area, SC, 7/1/2018.

Black Skimmer Pair

These Black Skimmers chose to do their skimming in the pond between me and the sun, rather than the prettier marsh on the other side of the dike where the light was beautiful.

Black Skimmer Pair
Black Skimmer Pair

The light here doesn’t do justice to their gorgeous orange beaks, but you can see how elegantly Skimmers fly and hunt. When in pairs the almost always fly with their wing beats synchronized.

Black Skimmer Pair
Black Skimmer Pair with fish jumping

Swooping around a small island the pair pulled tight together before turning for another long run.

Black Skimmer Pair
Black Skimmer Pair

Then they disappeared down an inlet, not to return while I was in the area.

Black Skimmer Pair
Black Skimmer Pair

Bear Island Wildlife Management Area, SC, 6/27/2018.

Gang Way: Black Skimmer Coming Through

The tide was almost low and the shallow inlet water was attracting a number of shore birds looking for a meal, including a few Black Skimmers. My view wasn’t great and some tall grass partially obstructed the action, but watching these gorgeous birds skim for food is fascinating.

Black Skimmer
Black Skimmer headed toward Tricolored Heron

The flying gull and wading Tricolored Heron paid no head to the speeding Skimmer.

Black Skimmer
Black Skimmer, Gull and Tricolored Heron

The Skimmer made a practiced move of a quick look underneath and behind.

Black Skimmer
Black Skimmer and Tricolored Heron

The Tricolored Heron was not giving up his spot.

Black Skimmer
Black Skimmer and Tricolored Heron

Gracefully the Skimmer banked, skirted the heron and headed across the inlet.

Black Skimmer
Black Skimmer and Tricolored Heron, Second Skimmer coming in

Click any image for a closer view.

Least Sandpiper

A mud flat is created when the SC Department of Natural Resources lets the water out of a section of the old rice fields at Bear Island Wildlife Management Area. The little shore “peeps” of all varieties gather for feeding.

Least Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper

The Least Sandpiper is one of the smallest of the little “peeps” that wade through the mud, foraging for food.

Least Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper with Reflection

It’s fascinating to see the flocks take off in one motion and fly as a group to a new location.

Flock of Shore Birds
Flock of Shore Birds

American Avocets

We arrived at Bear Island Wildlife Management area just before the sun came up this morning. A few American Avocets were sitting in the shallow water and reflected the sun’s first glow.

American Avocet
American Avocet

As we progressed around the impoundments throughout the morning there were several other areas with feeding Avocets. There were a few groups but they mostly fed on their own.

American Avocet
American Avocet

This pair in flight shows off the Avocet’s gorgeous colors and their upturned beak.

American Avocets in Flight
American Avocet Pair in Flight

Click on any photo for larger view.

Sanderlings

I spotted this group of Sanderlings driving along Indian River Lagoon in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. The immediately took off, but returned with a flourish in just a few minutes.

Sanderlings in Flight
Sanderlings in Flight

I’ve usually seen them running along the surf, but this one loan Sanderling took a dip in water up to his belly.

Sanderling in the Surf
Sanderling in the Surf

Click on either photo for larger view. 

Shore Birds Standing in the Surf

I got another opportunity to photograph Black Skimmers last week when a small group along with some Terns visited the same sand bar where I saw them two weeks ago. This Royal Tern had a few things to say.

Black Skimmers and Terns
Black Skimmers and Terns

When I first spotted them there were some Pelicans in the mix but they didn’t hang around. The tide was nearly out and this group of smaller birds seemed content to let the water lap around their legs. I didn’t see any of them feeding.

Black Skimmers and Terns
Black Skimmers and Terns

After the tide turned they shifted as a group a few times, going into the air, doing a few loops and settling just a couple dozen feet from where they started. It was only when a couple of bicyclists and a family with a baby carriage came along that they left.

Black Skimmers in Flight
Black Skimmers in Flight

Click on any photo for a larger view.

Willet On the Shore

Although I have seen a Willet in flight it is more common to see them walking the shore, poking the surf and sand for food.

Willet
Willet patrolling the shore

I didn’t see where he captured this fish but he took it to a wide open expanse of beach to consume it, alone. It’s size slowed him down. Just swallowing it wasn’t an option.

Willet
Willet with a good sized catch

The pools left by the falling tide attract the Willets. Calmer than the ocean surf they often are a concentrated food source as the water drains away.

Willet
Willet in a beach pool

They will completely immerse their heads looking for food, tipping like a bobbing garden ornament.

Willet Dunking his Head
Willet Dunking his Head