Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Bewitched, Begulled and Bewildered 2

On Wednesday March 4, 2015, I went for two walks along the beach.  I went south in the morning up to a small stream that runs into the ocean. The river stirs up the sand, making this a great place for gulls and shore birds to feed.  A dense fog permitted me to approach the birds without disturbing them.  It also made for photos that aren't quite as sharp as others taken on cloudy days.
I came across a very large number of gulls, including about 50 Bonaparte Gulls, pictured below. I think this may be the first time I have seen their legs! Lovely.
Clustered nearby, a large number of Laughing Gulls.
These two Bonapartes Gulls were stepping out together (below).
Grounded by the fog, as well, was a Forster's Tern (below), being reflective.

The afternoon walk yielded a flock of Willets (above), scouring the water for crustaceans.
The day ended, and the moon rose over the Atlantic, giving a very picturesque view through the waning fog.

The next day was warm and sunny. Walking north, I found the gulls again. The one below was getting quite bored with me.

Herring Gull

This Great Black-backed Gull seemed very nonchalant about my presence.

Cool photo above: as explained in the first part of the Myrtle Beach blog posting, there are 3 large gull species on the beach, and a mix of juveniles and adults.  Here are all three, from left: Adult Great Black-Backed, juvenile Herring and  adult Ring-billed. The size differences can be seen, largest to smallest. Great Black-backed Gulls are BIG. 

I was seeing a few Grebes, Cormorants, Loons and Mergansers in the surf.  The choppy seas didn't permit photos.  While looking out at these fishing birds, I saw the first Pelagic bird of this trip, a Northern Gannet flying from North to South without diving.

At 4:30 PM, the last strong cold front of the winter charged across the beach and out to see, where I snapped these photos of it.  The temperature plunged 20 degrees in 20 minutes, and didn't recover until Saturday, two days later.  That day I went to Huntington Beach State Park, which will be featured in the next posting.