Tag Archives: Shore Bird

Young Dolphin and Bonaparte’s Gull

Or Follow The Food

Dolphin can be hard to spot from shore until they break the surface but this Bonaparte’s Gull served as a great marker for me. You can just make out the young Dolphin below and to the left of the bird.

Bonaparte's Gull Fishing Around Dolphin
Bonaparte’s Gull Hovering Over Dolphin

With an idea where the animal is there is some chance of capturing an image of him above the water, like this:

Bonaparte's Gull Fishing Around Dolphin
Bonaparte’s Gull Fishing Around Dolphin

I had the pleasure of speaking with Lauren Rust, founder of The Lowcountry Marine Mammal Network (www.lmmn.org), while I was watching the Dolphins in the Kiawah River on March 18. She spends a lot of time monitoring the local Dolphin and shared with me that this behavior goes on regularly and she has wondered if it is the same few Gulls who have figured this out. The Dolphin is a two year old who still stays pretty close to its mother, who was feeding nearby.

Bonaparte's Gull Floating With Dolphin
Bonaparte’s Gull Floating With Dolphin

These two had developed an understanding. and if you zoom in on the next image you’ll see the Gull got a fish just as the Dolphin ducked under the water.

Bonaparte's Gull Fishing Around Dolphin
Bonaparte’s Gull Fishing Around Dolphin

It appeared that the Bonaparte’s Gull was following the Dolphin, which presumably was following fish.

Bonaparte's Gull Floating With Dolphin
Bonaparte’s Gull Floating With Dolphin

Lastly, a wider view of the unlikely pair, taken on the Kiawah side of the river, looking towards Seabrook Island.

Bonaparte's Gull Fishing Around Dolphin
Bonaparte’s Gull Fishing Around Dolphin

Plover at Sunset

The Merlin Bird ID App says this is most likely a Black-bellied Plover, or possibly an American Golden Plover. South Carolina is well within the winter migration range of both species and both sport a “black belly”  during breeding season which happens in the arctic tundra.

Plover in the Surf
Plover at the Surf’s Edge

The sun was almost down, creating a pink reflection in the receding Atlantic surf.

Plover in the Surf
Plover in the Surf

The Plover came a bit closer to me as I waited watched the sun go down.

Plover
Plover

Skimmers at the Beach

A flock of mostly Black Skimmers with a few terns, gulls and Oyster Catchers mixed in were occupying a sand bar at the edge of the ocean near where the Kiawah River runs into the Atlantic.

Black Skimmers Taking Off
Black Skimmers Taking Off

As I’ve seen before some signal is received by the birds and they all take off and relocate at once.

Black Skimmers Over Ocean Surf
Black Skimmers Over Ocean Surf

This was just past low tide and their real estate was shrinking quickly with the incoming tide. They settled down on the next available spot, dislocating a few pipers.

Black Skimmers Landing at Beach
Black Skimmers Landing at Beach

The terns were more inclined to stay put, not minding the surf lapping at their legs.

Black Skimmers Over Surf
Black Skimmers Over Surf

Beachwalker Park, Kiawah, SC 9/24/2019

American Oystercatcher Flying Over Surf

This American Oystercatcher had been standing in the surf. He got a running start then smoothly took off with one full beat of his wings.

American Oystercatcher in Flight
American Oystercatcher in Flight

It was just after dawn and he was flying directly into the sun, which I think must not affect birds’ eyes the way it does mine.

American Oystercatcher in Flight
American Oystercatcher in Flight

The incoming tide created a nice series of waves behind the bird.

American Oystercatcher in Flight
American Oystercatcher in Flight

He let out a  squawk for good measure before he disappeared down the beach.

American Oystercatcher in Flight
American Oystercatcher in Flight

Ruddy Turnstone

Their calico-cat like coloring sets these shorebirds apart from the others, but their behavior on the beach is a lot like the pipers and other “peeps.”

Ruddy Turnstones on Beach
Ruddy Turnstones on Beach

Standing around in small groups or on their own, they wait for the ocean to reveal something to eat.

Ruddy Turnstone on Beach
Ruddy Turnstone on Beach

Walking along the edge of the surf, this Ruddy Turnstone was proactively looking for a snack, racing ahead of the flowing water.

Ruddy Turnstone on Beach
Ruddy Turnstone on Beach

Botany Bay Island, August 4, 2019.