Sunday, May 22, 2011

Myrtle Beach - March 2011 Part 1

In March, Holly and I and kids joined good friends Kevin and Carole for a vacation in Myrtle Beach, SC.  It was a great time with lots of games, swimming at the water park, and once for me in the ocean on the boogie board.  Pretty cool and rainy a lot of the time, but we had a great time.

There were many different birds down south to try and capture.  I'll split it up into two posts: one around the hotel and the other on a trip I made to Huntington Beach State Park.

Northern Mocking Bird,
Mocking birds are quite common in the southern states.  We have them here in Southern Ontario too - I see one by my office every year - but not nearly as common.  It's amazing how they will sing, on and on.  Mocking birds are famous for their ability to learn other bird's short songs and repeat them, often learning as many as 200 different melodies.  They have even been known to copy car alarms and other insect sounds.

Northern Mocking Bird

Laughing Gull

These Laughing Gulls are different from the usual Ring-billed gull which we are used to seeing in Southern Ontario.  They are smaller, and seem to stay in much larger groups.  One unique thing God created gulls able to do is to be able to drink sea water.  They're able to do this because they have glands which extract the salt. The salt is eliminated through their nostrils.

Jostling - Laughing Gulls

As with a most gulls, they can be quite vocal - these are no different.  They have bright orange-red interiors to their mouths.

Laughing Gulls

Flock of Laughing Gulls

Ring-billed Gull

Ring-billed Gull

I have not been able to figure out what kind these birds are. Their flight reminded me of a tern's, and they way they were cruising the waves trolling for fish, then diving in was also similar to a terns.  But their shape wasn't what I'm used to seeing in Southern Ontario for terns, and more gull like.

Turns out they are Bonaparte's Gulls in winter plumage.  I had assumed not as the rest of the huge group was in normal plumage.  Thanks for the help Karen.

Bonaparte Gulls in Winter plumage

Bonaparte Gulls in Winter plumage

Bonaparte Gulls in Winter plumage

House Finch, Yellow variant

Carolina Wren
These little wrens are hard to capture on camera.  They are a quick little bird that likes to stick in the thickety part of bushes and trees.  They love to sing and are known to have the loudest song per size of the bird.  Below is the only shot I could get of one singing.

Carolina Wren in full song.

More coming in the future of my remaining shots... shore birds and alligators...


  1. Very nice Brian... you should turn professional! The bird you are not sure of could be a Bonapart gull in winter ploomage. karen

  2. Hi "Anonymous Karen" :) Thanks for the kind words - I don't think professional is in future! How did you know those birds were the Bonaparte's? Are you from that area? Are you a photographer as well, with a site of your own?

  3. Brian, a possible correction on the first three Gull Photos... Those are Laughing Gulls! The dark-red bills are a dead giveaway on the ID. Might be a new lifer! -Dwayne :-)


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