Tag Archives: Shore Bird

American Oystercatchers in the Surf

The American Oystercatchers I featured in yesterday’s post, American Oystercatchers Flying In, landed fairly close to me but back lit by the just risen sun. I continued down the beach past them, then turned back to see what they were up to.

American Oystercatchers in ocean surf
American Oystercatchers in ocean surf

They were strutting around in the low surf. True to their name, they mostly eat oysters or will probe for other food.

American Oystercatchers in ocean surf
American Oystercatchers in ocean surf

There was no oyster bed here and these two didn’t seem interested in hunting. They soon took off.

American Oystercatcher Taking Off
American Oystercatcher Taking Off

American Oystercatchers Flying In

American Oystercatchers tend to announce themselves in flight with a high pitched call which is good for the photographer wanting to capture flying action.
American Oystercatchers in Flight
Pair of American Oystercatchers in Flight over ocean

Just after the sun came up on Sunday I heard these two coming and fortunately for me they were flying towards the sun.

American Oystercatchers in Flight
American Oystercatchers in Flight

They flew out over the ocean, past part of the dead tree “boneyard” before touching down in the surf.

American Oystercatchers in Flight
American Oystercatchers in Flight

Click on any image for a larger view.

Black Skimmers in Flight

Black Skimmers sometimes do a U-turn over the water and skim back the way the came. Other times they lift up and go back where they started or pick a new place to feed.

Black Skimmer in Flight
Black Skimmer in Flight

It seems reasonable that wind direction and food availability figure in their decisions.

Black Skimmer in Flight
Black Skimmer in Flight, Grass Caught in His Jaw

Whatever the cause they are as beautiful in full flight as they are when they are skimming.

Black Skimmer Pair in Flight
Black Skimmer Synchronized Pair in Flight

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

Bonaparte’s Gull In Surf

Watching Bonaparte’s Gulls feed in the ocean surf it was amazing to see how well they timed the waves, lifting out of the water to avoid a crash.

Bonaparte’s Gull in Surf
Bonaparte’s Gull in Surf

Or just bobbing along and riding the crest of a wave.

Bonaparte’s Gull in Surf
Bonaparte’s Gull Behind Breaking Wave

Sometimes they jump right into the breaking wave, perhaps the fish they want to eat are churned up there. These images capture the gull plus some of the mesmerizing water movement.

Bonaparte’s Gull in Surf
Bonaparte’s Gull in Surf

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

American Avocets

I watched a group of American Avocets milling around in a shallow pond, some wading and some flying in small hops following whatever they were feeding on.

American Avocets American Avocets

Two did fly by fairly close to me and I hoped they would land for a close up shot, but they kept right on going to the other side of the pond.

American Avocets in Flight American Avocets in Flight

Another group landed a bit closer, then waded out of view.

American Avocets in Flight American Avocets in Flight

Taken 2/25/2019