Tag Archives: Water Bird

Possession

I didn’t see the shrimp arrive or which gull had it first.

Ring-billed Gulls with Shrimp
Ring-billed Gulls with Shrimp

The gull on the right was in hot and noisy pursuit when the possessor of the moment took to the air.

Ring-billed Gulls with Shrimp
Ring-billed Gulls with Shrimp

Unfortunately the shrimp broke apart.

Ring-billed Gulls with Shrimp
Ring-billed Gulls with Shrimp

Or not, if you are gull number two diving in for the recovery of what looked like the bigger piece.

Ring-billed Gulls with Shrimp
Ring-billed Gulls with Shrimp

White Pelican in Wood Stork’s Space

At first at seemed that the White Pelican had no interest in the Wood Stork as he casually paddled along.

White Pelican and Wood Stork
White Pelican and Wood Stork

But as he got closer I began to wonder.

White Pelican and Wood Stork
White Pelican and Wood Stork

Surely, the Wood Stork would have some kind of reaction.

White Pelican and Wood Stork
White Pelican and Wood Stork

I wish I could have seen this from another angle–did the Wood Stork reach into the Pelican’s beak?

White Pelican and Wood Stork
White Pelican and Wood Stork

Whatever happened, the White Pelican decided to move on, continuing to make a little flap about it.

White Pelican and Wood Stork
White Pelican and Wood Stork

The Wood Stork continued to pay no attention.

11/19/2018 Donnelley Wildlife Management Area

Brown Pelican Take Off

Brown Pelicans have learned to gather where Dolphins are strand feeding. They’ve figured out that fish can’t be far off and may be available for poaching.

Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican at River’s Edge

I was watching this one as he artfully took off.

Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican

And swooped out over the river.

Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican

I didn’t realize until he turned and landed that I was missing a Dolphin strand feeding.

Brown Pelican Watching Dolphins Strand Feed
Brown Pelican Watching Dolphins Strand Feed

Anhinga Just Out of the Water

I caught this Anhinga as he was climbing out of the water onto an Alligator ramp. This waterway is a canal along the edge of an old rice field impoundment that attracts many fish eating birds.

Anhinga
Anhinga

Anhingas feathers are not waterproof which helps them to swim and hunt low in the water but also means they have to leave the water to dry off.

Anhinga
Anhinga

You can see the gular pouch extending below. Similar to a pelican’s pouch, this skin between the beak and neck helps the bird “open wide” and swallow much larger fish than you might expect.

Anhinga
Anhinga

I haven’t seen an Anhinga do this while drying off and am not sure what he was up to. I waited awhile to see, but like many of the water birds these fellows can spend a long time doing nothing and I lose interest or get distracted by something more interesting.

Anhinga
Anhinga

Tern: Working His Water Exit

Royal Tern, wings out of the water:

Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water
Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water

One strong down wing beat:

Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water
Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water

Pulling up out of the water:

Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water
Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water

A second strong down wing beat:

Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water
Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water

The fish catch held in his beak is sticking out on either side of the tern’s body:

Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water
Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water

A third beat of the wings and tern is fully away from the water with his lunch flapping:

Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water
Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water

This series was over in two seconds.

Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water
Royal Tern Lifting Out of Water

Tern: Will Turn for Food

A few Royal Terns have been coming regularly to one of the old rice field ponds to feed. Terns are extremely skillful flyers and I watched two of them for an entertaining 45 minutes, making loops around the pond and occasionally out over the Ashley River.

Royal Tern Hovering
Royal Tern Hovering

The terns were constantly turning their heads and changing direction. When they spot a fish in the water they hover.

Royal Tern Hovering
Royal Tern Hovering

Then dive!

Royal Tern Diving
Royal Tern Diving

They go completely under water.

Tern Under Water
Tern Under Water

And if all goes well, come up with a fish!

Royal Tern with Fish
Royal Tern with Fish

Up and away!

Royal Tern with Fish
Royal Tern with Fish

Interestingly, the two terns then flew together out over the river. They got too far away to tell if the fishless bird was trying to steal the meal or if they were sharing.

Fall Colors

There is a touch of fall color in the “skinny tree” which earlier this year hosted one Great Blue Heron¬† and several Great Egret families. Now the tree serves as an occasional landing spot for a passing bird.

Anhinga Drying in Sun
Anhinga Drying in Sun

This Anhinga chose it as a drying off spot and executed a smooth landing.

Anhinga Drying in Sun
Anhinga Drying in Sun

He then turned his back to the sun and spread his wings to dry off.

Anhinga Drying in Sun
Anhinga Drying in Sun

Black Skimmer

I love watching Black Skimmers doing what their name implies. Their flying skills are extraordinary, including not needing to watch where they are going when they plunge their heads into the water.

Black Skimmer
Black Skimmer

Very agile, a slight tip of the wings is all they need to change direction or speed.

Black Skimmer
Black Skimmer

I didn’t see a fish, but sometimes they pull up just a bit to swallow something they’ve caught before continuing to skim the water.

Black Skimmer
Black Skimmer

Bear Island Wildlife Management Area, SC, July 15, 2018.