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Field and Swamp: Animals and Their Habitats

        

Birds that live on or near the water

Also see Backyard Birds, the Bird Blog Zoo Birds and the Audubon Swamp Garden page.  See Masonboro Island stamps with my photos on them, put out by the Wilmington Philatelic Society.

Ducks   Geese   Cranes   Swans   Rails and Coots   Limpkins   Grebes   Herons and Egrets   Ibises   Vultures   Gulls and Terns   Plovers and Killdeers  

Oystercatchers    Sandpipers and allies     Pelicans    Anhingas    Cormorants

NOTE:  All below classifications have been checked for validity against the Integrated Taxonomic Information System.   See North American Breeding Bird Survey Results and Analysis 1966-2003 North Carolina BBS Summer Distribution Maps 1994-2003.  Results for individual species are broken down below.

Dabbling Ducks: Anas genus (Anatinae subfamily, Anatidae family, Anseriformes order)

Blue-winged Teals (Anas discors)

Blue-winged Teal BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

Male Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors), Audubon Swamp Garden, Charleston County, SC, 3/28/06. Male Blue-winged Teal flying, Audubon Swamp Garden, Charleston County, SC, 3/28/06 Female and male Blue-winged Teals, Audubon Swamp Garden

 

Female Blue-winged Teal and offspring, Audubon Swamp Garden, Charleston County, SC,  3/28/04.

Green-winged Teals (Anas carolinensis)

         
A male and two female Green-winged Teals, Turnbull Birding Center, Port Aransas, TX, 2/7/13 Male Green-winged Teal, Turnbull Birding Center, Port Aransas, TX, 2/7/13          

Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)

Northern Pintail BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994, 2003

Breeding male Northern Pintail (Anas acuta), Pea Island NWR, Dare County, NC, 1/2/06 Northern Pintails, Lake Mattamuskeet, Hyde County, NC, 1/2/06

Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos)

Mallards BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

       
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) couple, Duke Gardens, 3/9/06.  To order products with this photo on them, visit our store. Male Mallard, Lake Park, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, 3/11/11 Female Mallard, Lake Park, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 1/18/11 These Mallards seemed to be protecting the American Coots in the background, marching in and quacking authoritatively.  Lake Park, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, 3/11/11 Mallard bathing in a large puddle left by a big storm.  Ocracoke, NC, 5/23/12        

 

Mallard  family, Duke Gardens, 5/29/03. Same family.  Note that both the male and female have some blue feathers. Mallard couple, Greenville, Pitt County, NC, 11/17/05

 

Mallard ducklings in these three pictures appeared in Ocracoke, NC on 5/10/0. Both of these are dark brown, with lighting differences. Why the difference in coloring?  Half-grown mallard from same family.  Plumage is lighter colored than that of Ocracoke ducklings on left.

 

Young Mallard, Duke Gardens, Durham, 7/19/05 Mallard family, Duke Gardens, 7/24/05 Mallard Ducklings, Duke Gardens, 7/24/05, hiding in grass.

 

These are two pictures of the same Mallard feather taken from different angles.  As the camera moved to the rear of the duck, the feather color changed from blue to purple.  Taken at Duke Gardens, 3/9/06.

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) and American Black Duck (Anas rubripes) hybrids

         
Probably a male Mallard/American Black Duck hybrid, Duke Gardens, Durham, NC, 2/14/11          


Northern Shoveler
(Anas clypeata)


Northern Shoveler BBS Distribution Map, 1994-2003

   
Male Northern Shoveler, Leonabelle Turnbull Center, Port Aransas,  TX, 2/7/13 Northern Shoveler couple, Turnbull Center, 2/7/13    

Greater Eider Ducks (Somateria genus, Anatinae subfamily, Anatidae family, Anseriformes order)

King Eider Ducks (Somateria spectabilis)

       
King Eider ducks, offshore of Slettnes Nature Reserve, Finnmark County, Norway, date unknown.  The photo was taken in the very northern part of Norway by Danish photographer John Larsen.        

Stifftailed Ducks (Oxyura genus, Anatinae subfamily, Anatidae family, Anseriformes order)

       
Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis), Duke Gardens, Durham, NC, 4/6/09 Male Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis), Lake Park, Carolina Beach, NC, 3/10/10        

Goldeneye Ducks (Bucephala genus, Anatinae subfamily, Anatidae family, Anseriformes order)

Buffleheads (Bucephala albeola)

Bufflehead BBS Distribution Map, 1994-2003

Female Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola), Pea Island NWR, Dare County, NC, 1/3/06 Buffleheads, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 12/21/06.  The one in the front is clearly female and the one directly behind her male; at least two others are male.

Wood Ducks: Aix sponsa (Anatinae subfamily, Anatidae family, Anseriformes order)

Wood Duck BBS Distribution Map, 1994-2003

 
Male Wood Duck in breeding plumage, Lake Park, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 1/18/11 Non-breeding male Wood Duck (Aix sponsa), Ft. Fisher Aquarium, New Hanover County, NC, 6/26/08 Maybe a female Wood Duck (Aix sponsa), NC Zoo, Asheboro, Randolph County, NC, 11/13/05.  Her wings may have been clipped.  

 

Wood Ducks Seen at Bass Lake in Moses Cone Memorial Park, Watauga County, NC, 8/8/06.  Curtis Smallwood wrote: "The young males look like this from about day 100-130 which would be about right for this time of year."
 

Muscovy Ducks (Cairina moschata, Anatinae subfamily, Anatidae family, Anseriformes order)

There is great variety in appearance among members of this formerly domestically bred species.

Domestic Muscovy Duck, Lake Lynn, Raleigh, NC, 8/29/02.  This is an imported species according to Will Cook of Duke U.  Domestic Muscovy Duck, same time and place as duck on left.  This white duck has yellow and black-and-white ducklings.  Lake Lynn had dried up quite a bit after a drought. This is one of the Muscovy ducklings pictured on the left.

 

Muscovy Duck, Black Mountain, NC on 7/14/02.

Diving Ducks: Aythya genus (Anatinae subfamily, Anatidae family, Anseriformes order)

Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)

Lesser Scaup BBS Summer Distribution Map 1994-2003

       
Breeding female Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis), Lake Park, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 1/5/08 Breeding male Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis), Lake Park, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 12/22/09      

Redhead (Aythya americana)
Redhead BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

         
Redhead (Aythya americana), male in breeding plumage, Lake Park, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 1/5/08 This might be a female Redhead or Ring-necked Duck, Lake Park, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 1/18/11.          

Canvasback (Aythya valisineria)
Canvasback BBS Summer Distribution, 1994-2003
         
Canvasback (Aythya valisineria), 6/12/09          

Ducks: Dendrocygna genus (Dendrocygninae subfamily, Anatidae family, Anseriformes order)

Black-bellied Whistling Duck BBS Summer Distribution Maps, 1994-2003

       
Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis), Brackenridge Park, San Antonio, Bexar County, TX, 5/28/10

Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus, Anatidae family, Anseriformes order)

Hooded Merganser BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

   
Hooded Mergansers, in a marsh in a residential Sarasota, FL, neighborhood on 12/2/14 Male Hooded Merganser, Sarasota, FL, 1/24/17 Female Hooded Merganser, Sarasota, FL, 1/24/17 Hooded Mergansers, on pond near Aquarium, with grass in foreground.  Ft. Fisher Basin Trail, New Hanover County, NC, 1/17/11 Female Merganser with eel prey.  Thanks to Ed Corey and Josh Southern for IDs of bird and to Ed for ID of eel.  Ft. Fisher Basin Trail, New Hanover County, NC, 1/17/11    

Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)

         
Red-breasted Merganser, Mustang Island State Park, Port Aransas, TX, 2/7/13          

Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis)

         
Male Longtailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis), Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, NC, 11/11/12          

Ducks: European breed (Blue Swede)

The story I keep hearing is, "It's a breed, not a species."  This is pretty silly, since all animals belong to some species.  Granted, some common names apply to several species, so the species of an individual animals cannot be determined from them.  But the term "Blue Swede" has a very specific meaning, and may in fact refer to a subspecies.  It may be a hybrid of a mallard and a domestic Swedish duck, both obviously from the same species since the line has been perpetuated.

Blue Swede, a European domestic breed, seen with mallards at Al Buehler Trail, Duke University, Durham, NC, 8/23/06.  Blue Swede, Lake Park, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 3/8/09

Geese (Anatidae family, Anseriformes order)

Snow Geese (Chen caerulescens), seen on Pea Island NWR, Dare County, NC, on 1/3/06. These geese summer in northern Canada during their breeding season; adults and juveniles fly to the mid-Atlantic coast (among other places) in winter.

The goose on the left is apparently a juvenile, while the other is an adult. In flight. The geese with the black bodies and white heads are dark-form adult Snow Geese. 

Greylag Geese (Anser anser) and Canada Geese (Branta Canadensis)

Canada Goose BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

They aren't related, but I've put them together because of the remarkable interspecies goose couple shown below. 

Greylag (Barnyard) Geese (Anser anser), Black Mountain, NC, 7/14/02, according to Will Cook of Duke University.  This is a domestic species imported from Europe.    Canada Goose goslings, Wannamaker County Park, Charleston County, SC, 3/28/06. Canada Goose gosling, Wilmington, NC, 6/23/07.  Seen near a drainage pond.

Canada Goose and Greylag Goose  interspecies mating is suggested by some of these scenes.   I first saw this interspecies couple in 2003 and last saw what may have been them in 2005, when they mostly sat around. 

In May 2006, I saw no Greylag Geese and all of the Canada Geese were youthful and energetic.   They and the apparent hybrids pictured below, perhaps the offspring of the original couple, stayed together in a group, but no coupling was apparent.  There were four apparent hybrids in all, and about the same number of Canada Geese.

Goose family, town of Ocracoke, NC, 5/12/03.  Definitely not a typical Canada Goose (Branta Canadensis) family here!  The other adult is a Greylag Goose.  I counted 8 goslings, one of which seems to be facing toward me.  (Purebred Canada Goose goslings are tawny.) A little over two years later (town of Ocracoke, 5/18/05), I spotted what appears to be this odd couple again.  They stayed on land this time, mostly sitting or eating grass, and I saw them on several different days in the same general area.  I didn't see them in May 2006.  To order products with this photo on them, visit our store.

 

Apparent Canada Goose/Greylag Goose hybrid, maybe the offspring of the couple on the left, Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 5/18/05.  This goose and its Canada Goose companion hung around with the goose couple in the picture on the left in the evenings. The goose on the right (also pictured at left) hung around with this Canada Goose, doing some swimming and some flying.  The last time I saw them, they had spotted something interesting in Silver Lake and were flying toward it, honking wildly.  Note the contrast between the Canada Goose on the left and the apparent hybrid on the right.  Even though goslings had appeared in Ocracoke in mid-May of 2003, none of any species showed up this time anywhere on Ocracoke Island. Apparently an immature Canada Goose.  Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 5/10/06 Canada Goose, Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 5/10/06

 

         
Canada Goose territorial battle.  There was a lot of honking leading up to the chasing of two geese onto the far shore.  Southpoint Swamp, Durham, NC, 3/16/11 Canada Goose, flying to catch its balance after slipping on lake ice.  Parkwood Lake, Durham, NC, 1/7/10          

Feral (wild domestic) Geese

 

Chinese Goose. Bay St. Louis, Hancock County, MS, 10/15/10 Grey Saddleback Pomeranian Goose and Embden Goose.  North River Park, Greenville, Pitt County, 2/15/06.  IDs thanks to Jennifer Gordon of the Carolina Wildlife Rescue, Indian Trail, NC. Chinese Goose, domesticated descendant of the East Asian Swan Goose (Anser cygnoides), the lake at Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC.  Same Chinese Goose with some white Embden Geese, a Blue Swede duck and another unidentifiable duck, at Lake Park, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 6/26/08. Embden Geese, Chinese Geese, and a pale variant of the Pomeranian Goose breed, Elizabeth City, Pasquotank County, NC, 12/20/08.

 

Pomeranian Geese, downtown Elizabeth City, Pasquotank County, NC, 12/20/08.  Note the paler goose.  These may be Greylag Goose hybrids. Egyptian Goose, Durham, NC, 3/29/09        
 

Swan (Anatidae family, Anseriformes order)

Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)

           
Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus), Duke Gardens, Durham, NC, 4/6/09            

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

Mute Swan BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor), Airlie Gardens, Wilmington, NC, 8/28/03, about to begin the preening process.  This is probably a captive animal. Mute Swan, Pea Island NWR, Dare County, NC,  1/3/06. Mute Swan, same time and place (Pea Island, 1/3/06)

 

Tundra Swans (Cygnus columbianus), Lake Mattamuskeet, Hyde County, NC, 1/2/06

Cranes (Gruidae family, Gruiformes order)

         
Sandhill Crane with prey, Myakka River State Park, Sarasota, FL, 1/25/17 Same Sandhill Crane          

 

Rails and Coots (Rallidae family, Gruiformes order)

They look like ducks, but only because you can't see their unwebbed feet. 

American birds formerly called Common Moorhens have been split into a new species, the Common Gallinule.

Common Gallinule (Gallinula galeata)

Common Moorhen BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

Common Gallinule, Sarasota, FL, 1/24/17 Common Gallinule, Turnbull Birding Center, Port Aransas, Nueces County, TX, 2/7/13 Common Gallinule (Gallinula galeata), Ringling Museum of Art grounds, Sarasota, FL, 3/30/12 Young Common Gallinule, part of a group at Audubon Swamp Garden, 10/11/07.  ID confirmed by Simon Thompson.

American Coot (Fulica americana)

American Coot BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

 
American Coot, with distinctive foot showing, Washington, Beaufort County, NC, 11/12/11 American Coot, Lake Park, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 1/18/11 American Coot, Ocracoke Island, Hyde County, NC, 5/19/05.  American Coot, Lake Park, Carolina Beach, NC, New Hanover County, NC, 3/9/09 American Coots, showing feet.  Lake Park, Carolina Beach, NC, New Hanover County, NC, 3/11/11 American Coot, lake at Carolina Beach, NC, 12/3/07  

         
About 75 American Coots, Lake Park, New Hanover County, NC, 3/12/11 Part of the underside of an American Coot foot.  Though it isn't webbed, three curved pads stick out on each side of each talon, and you see an extra spiky "claw" on top.  Lake Park, New Hanover County, NC, 3/12/11          

 

 
American Coots, Lake Mattamuskeet, NC, 1/2/06.   

Limpkins (Aramus guarauna, Aramidae family, Gruiformes)

         
Limpkin with snail prey, Myakka River State Park, Sarasota, FL, 1/25/17 Three Limpkins in the open and another mostly hidden, Myakka River State Park, Sarasota, FL, 1/25/17          

 

Loons (Gaviidae family, Ciconiiformes order)

We never get to hear the famous loon cry because they only do it during breeding season up in Canada and the northernmost parts of the U.S.

         
Common Loon (Gavia immer), Manteo, Dare County, NC, 2/17/11           

Grebes (Podicipedidae family, Ciconiiformes order)

These are small birds that can stay under water for a very long time.  As is the case with all rails, their feet aren't webbed.  Look for these birds when the weather is cold.

Pied-billed Grebe BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

Horned Grebe BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003 

         
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps), Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center, Port Aransas, Nueces County, TX, 2/7/13 Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps), in non-breeding plumage, Southpoint Swamp, Durham, NC, 11/26/12 Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps), Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL, 3/30/12 Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) in breeding plumage, Lake Park, Carolina Beach, NC, 3/8/09 Horned Grebes (Podiceps auritus), Bay St. Louis, Hancock County, MS, 1/9/09          

Herons, Egrets and Bitterns (Ardeidae family, Ciconiiformes order)

Green Heron BBS Summer Distribution Map, 994, 2003

Little Blue Heron BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994, 2003 

No (North Carolina) distribution map for the Reddish Egret is available.

Green Herons (Butorides virescens)

Green Heron (Butorides virescens), Durham, NC, 6/26/05.  This bird came to a small swamp near where I live. Green Heron (Butorides virescens), Durham, NC, 7/17/11

Reddish Egrets (Egretta rufescens)

         
Second-year Reddish Egret, but no showy behavior here. South Lido Park, Sarasota County, FL, 12/2/14 Reddish Egret at Port Aransas Wildlife Nature Preserve, Nueces County, TX, 2/5/13 Same Reddish Egret doing what I understand to be its famous dance.  Port Aransas Wildlife Nature Preserve, Nueces County, TX, 2/5/13          

Tricolored Herons (Egretta tricolor)

Tricolored Heron BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

 
Tricolored Heron, a marsh in a residential area in Sarasota, FL, 12/1/14 Tricolored Heron, Turnbull Birding Center, Port Aransas, TX, 2/7/13 Tricolored Heron (probably just a visitor), Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Sarasota, FL, 3/30/12 Tricolored Heron, Ft. Fisher State Recreational Area, New Hanover County, NC, 12/3/07 Tricolored Heron and Snowy Egret pursuing fish prey, Myakka River State Park, Sarasota County, Florida, 1/25/17  

Little Blue Herons (Egretta caerulea)

       
Little Blue Heron, Sarasota, by Sarasota Bay, Florida, 12/2/14 Juvie Little Blue Heron, Sarasota, FL, 1/24/17        

Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias)

Great Blue Heron BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

Great Blue Heron, South Lido Park, Sarasota County, FL, 12/2/14 Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), Ft. Fisher Basin Trail, New Hanover County, NC, 10/18/05.  Great Blue Heron, Durham, NC, 12/23/05.  Great Blue Heron,  Lake Lynn, Wake County, NC. Great Blue Heron, Gulfport, Harrison County, MS, 1/9/09 Great Blue Heron, Duke Gardens, 7/24/05. Great Blue Heron, Duke Gardens, Durham, NC, 12/30/05. 

Great Egrets (Ardea alba)

Great Egret BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

 
Great Egret, with single large feather showing, Myakka River State Park, Sarasota County, 1/25/17 Great Egret, South Lido Park, Sarasota County, FL, 12/2/14 Great Egret, Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 5/15/05. Great Egrets, Audubon Swamp Garden, Charleston County, SC, 3/28/06.  Great Egret (Egretta thula), Ft. Fisher Recreation Area (Battery Buchanan Tour Stop), New Hanover County, NC, 5/23/11 Great Egret, Cedar Point, Bay St. Louis, Hancock County, MS, 10/16/17  

 

Snowy Egrets (Egretta thula)

Snowy Egret BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

Snowy Egret, South Lido Park, Sarasota County, FL, 12/2/14 Snowy Egret, Leona Turnbull Birding Center, Port Aransas, TX 2/7/13 Snowy Egret, St. Augustine, St. Johns County, FL, 3/12/13 Snowy Egret (Egretta thula), Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 5/18/05.  Note orange feet, in contrast with Great Egret's black feet. Snowy Egret, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, Dare County, NC, 5/7/06 Snowy Egret, Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 5/14/07

 

         
Snowy Egret flushing out at least four and maybe six fish, Gulfport, Harrison County, MS, 10/12/17 Same Snowy Egret flushing out three fish.  After doing this dance, the egret flew a little distance away and then slowly walked back to where it flushed the fish.  Sometimes it stayed where it had flown, perhaps after being disappointed.  I saw a Tricolored Heron do this a couple of days later in the same general area.          

 

Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus ibis)

Cattle Egret BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

Cattle Egret in flight, from Brackenridge Park, San Antonio, Bexar County, TX, 5/28/10 Cattle Egret, also in flight, from Brackenridge Park, San Antonio, Bexar County, TX, 5/28/10 Cattle Egret returning to nest with twig, Brackenridge Park, Bexar County, San Antonio, TX, 5/28/10 Cattle Egret by San Antonio River, Bexar County, TX, 5/28/10 Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis), Ocracoke Island, Hyde County, NC, 5/10/06

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)

Black-crowned Night Heron BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

 
Black-crowned Night Heron, Larkspur ferry terminal, Marin County, CA, 9/11/14 Black-crowned Night-Heron, town of Ocracoke, 5/19/05.   As its name suggests, this heron is mainly nocturnal. Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron, Roanoke Island Marsh Game Land, 2/17/11.  There was grass in the foreground.   

Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea)

Yellow-crowned Night Heron BBS Summer Distribution, Map 1994-2003

       
Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea), San Antonio, Bexar County, TX, 5/27/10 Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea), Wilmington, New Hanover County, NC, 6/23/07
Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron. Ft. Fisher Basin Trail, New Hanover County, NC, 8/11/11
       

American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus)

American Bittern BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus), Ft. Fisher State Recreational Area, New Hanover County, NC, 12/19/06.   ID thanks to Ritch Lilly.  Its  NatureServe rank is G4, i.e., "uncommon but not rare" and its corresponding state rank  is S1B ("critically imperiled" breeding population, S3N ("vulnerable" due to restricted range, 80 or fewer population or other similar factors).   BBS Distribution Map: 1994-2003

Ibises and Spoonbills (Threskiornithidae family, Ciconiiformes order)

White Ibises (Eudocimus albus)

White Ibis BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

Adult White Ibises (Eudocimus albus), Ft. Fisher Recreation Area, New Hanover County, NC, 8/29/12 Subadult White Ibises (Eudocimus albus), Ft. Fisher Recreation Area, New Hanover County, NC, 8/29/12 White Ibis (Eudocimus albus), South Lido Park, Sarasota, FL, 4/1/12 White Ibises (Eudocimus albus), New Hanover County, NC, 11/19/04.  White Ibis, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, 10/20/14 White Ibis, Audubon Swamp Garden, Charleston County, SC, 3/28/06. 

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellis)

         
Glossy Ibis and Limpkin, Myakka River State Park, Sarasota County, FL, 1/25/17          

 

Roseate Spoonbills (Platalea ajaja)

         
Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja), catching prey at a marsh in a residential Sarasota, FL, neighborhood, 12/1/14 Roseate Spoonbill, Myakka River State Park, Sarasota County, FL, 1/25/17          

Wood Storks (Ciconiidae Family, Ciconiiformes order)

Wood Stork BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

         
Wood Stork (Mycteria americana), Lake Morton, Lakeland, FL, 8/13/10.  Copyright © Noela T. Martell Segura 2010 Wood Stork standing among water hyacinths, Myakka River State Park, Sarasota County, FL, 12/3/14          

Gulls (Laridae family, Ciconiiformes order)

           
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis), with berry? Downtown Manteo, Dare County, NC, 2/17/11 Ring-billed Gull at Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 3/11/11 Ring-billed Gulls, Ft. Fisher State Recreation Area, New Hanover County, NC, 12/2/12 Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis), North Beach, Carolina Beach, NC, 12/14/04.  You won't find this gull in NC in the summer:  this species goes up to southern Canada and the very northern continental US then. Ring-billed Gull, Harkers Island, 3/22/05 Ring-billed Gull, Harker's Island, 3/22/05          

Immature Herring Gull, Ocracoke, 5/9/04. Laughing Gulls' courtship. Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 5/22/17 Juvenile Laughing Gull,  Kure Beach, NC, 12/14/04. Laughing Gull (Larus atricilla) near Hatteras Island, NC, 5/14/03.  This is a breeding adult.  In the winter, this kind of gull has a white head. Another adult Laughing Gull, Ocracoke, 5/14/04. Adult Laughing Gulls, Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Sarasota, FL.

 

Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus), Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 5/15/07 Laughing Gull, Harkers Island, 3/22/05 Bonaparte's Gull, Myrtle Beach, SC, 3/17/08

Terns (Sternidae family, Ciconiiformes order)

Royal Tern, Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 5/14/07. Royal Tern (Sterna maxima), breeding plumage, Ocracoke Island, Hyde County, NC, in flight, 5/9/06 Royal Terns (in breeding plumage), Ocracoke Island, Hyde County, NC, perhaps greeting the Hatteras Ferry, 5/9/06. Royal Tern preparing to dive, Pamlico Sound near Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 5/22/12 Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri), Gulfport, Harrison County, MS, 1/10/09.


         
Royal Tern, non-breeding plumage.  Battery Buchanan (Federal Point), Ft. Fisher Recreation Area, New Hanover County, NC, 3/13/11 Royal Tern, breeding plumage.  Battery Buchanan (Federal Point), Ft. Fisher Recreation Area, New Hanover County, NC, 3/13/11 Least Tern (Sterna antillarum), Cedar Island, Hyde County, NC, 5/8/13          

Black Skimmers (Rynchops niger, Rynchopidae family, Ciconiiformes order)

Black Skimmer BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003
 

Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) in flight, with unequal upper and lower bill sizes clearly visible, Gulfport, Harrison County, MS, 10/17/10 Black Skimmer doing "skimming," i.e., scooping prey from the water with its lower beak, Gulfport, Harrison County, MS, 10/15/10 Group of Black Skimmers flying, Gulfport, Harrison County, MS, 10/14/10

Black Skimmers and gulls in the process of moving to a new spot on the beach, Gulfport, Harrison County, MS, 10/12/17 Black Skimmer, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, new Hanover County, NC, 5/23/11 in the evening Black Skimmers, same place

Plovers, Killdeers and Oystercatchers  (Charadriidae family, Ciconiiformes order)

Semipalmated Plovers (Charadrius semipalmatus)

     
Semi-palmated Plover, Gulfport, Harrison County, MS, 10/16/17 Semi-palmated Plover, Cedar Island, Hyde County, NC, 5/8/13 Semipalmated Plover, male in breeding plumage, Ocracoke Island, Hyde County, NC, 5/12/09 Another Semipalmated Plover, Ocracoke Island, Hyde County, NC, 5/12/09 Semipalmated Plover? at Ft. Fiosher State Recreation Area, 10/21/14. I question this ID, not just because it doesn't fit Sibley's pictures but because those who gave this ID were under the impression that the black eyepatch is only there in breeding birds. Another plover, same date, place and issue as the one on the left.      

Killdeers (Charadrius vociferus)

Killdeers will show up wherever there are large puddles, although they are also found in estuaries.

Killdeer BBS Distribution Map, 1994-2003

         
Killdeer, Gulfport, Harrison County, MS, 10/16/17 Killdeer, Cedar Island, Hyde County, NC, 5/8/13 Killdeer, Durham, NC, 1/12/16.  This was at a developing local pond; the orange temporary fence kept the lawn mowers away from the site during its first year. Killdeer pair, Durham, NC, 1/12/16 Killdeer, Washington, Beaufort County, NC, 11/12/11 Killdeer in a muddy area on the waterfront, downtown Morehead City, Carteret County, NC, 10/17/11 Killdeer in flight, Lake Park, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 1/18/11 Killdeer in flight, Bay St. Louis, Hancock County, MS, 1/11/09          

Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
         
Black-bellied Plover, Ocracoke Island, Hyde County, NC  5/24/12 Black-bellied Plover, Ocracoke Island, Hyde County, NC  5/24/12 Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola), Ocracoke Island, 5/16/05 (breeding plumage). Non-breeding Black-bellied Plover, South Lido Park, Sarasota County, FL, 12/4/14          

American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus, Charadriidae family, Charadriiformes order)

American Oystercatcher BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

   
American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus), Ocracoke Island (north shore), 5/9/04.  American Oystercatcher, Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 5/10/06 American Oystercatchers, Battery Buchanan jetty, Ft. Fisher Recreational Area, New Hanover County, NC, 12/22/09 American Oystercatcher, standing relatively near the boat ramp.  Battery Buchanan (Federal Point), Ft. Fisher Recreation Area, New Hanover County, NC, 3/13/11 Two American Oystercatchers, flying toward the jetty from the ferry area.  Battery Buchanan (Federal Point), Ft. Fisher Recreation Area, New Hanover County, NC, 3/13/11    

Sandpipers, Sanderlings, Ruddy Turnstones, Yellowlegs (Scolopacidae family, Ciconiiformes order)

Sanderlings (Calidris alba)

 
Sanderling in breeding plumage, Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 5/27/17 Sanderling, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 12/3/12 Sanderling in breeding plumage, Ocracoke Island, Hyde County, NC, 5/24/12 Juvenile Sanderling (Calidris alba), Ocracoke, 5/9/04.  A kind of sandpiper. Sanderling, Carolina Beach, 10/20/05 A flock of Sanderlings at Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 9/27/10  


Dunlin (Calidris alpina)

           
Juvenile Dunlin on jetty, Battery Buchanan (Federal Point), Ft. Fisher Recreation Area, New Hanover County, NC, 3/13/11
Dunlin (Calidris alpina), Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 5/10/06.  Breeding plumage.

Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri)

         
Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri), missing one leg.  It initially pretended to be asleep but hopped away.          

Red Knot (Calidris canutus, subspecies rufa)

         
Red Knot flying, Ocracoke Island, Hyde County, NC, 5/24/12 Two Red Knots, Ocracoke Island, Hyde County, NC, 5/24/12 Red Knot, Fort Macon State Park, Carteret County, NC, 5/21/12.  Note the red band.          

Ruddy Turnstones (Atenaria interpres)

Ruddy Turnstone, Gulfport, Harrison County, MS, 10/15/17.  Probably a juvenile. Non-breeding Ruddy Turnstone, Port Aransas, Nueces County, TX, 2/6/13 Non-breeding Ruddy Turnstone, Ft. Fisher State Recreation Area, New Hanover County, NC, 10/21/14.  Probably a juvenile. Non-breeding Ruddy Turnstone, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 12/3/12 Ruddy Turnstone in breeding plumage, Atlantic Beach, Carteret County, NC, 5/21/12 Same Ruddy Turnstone, Atlantic Beach, Carteret County, NC, 5/21/12 Ruddy Turnstones (Atenaria interpres) in breeding plumage, Ocracoke Island, 5/16/05.  These migratory birds summer in northern Canada. Ruddy Turnstone in breeding plumage, Ocracoke Island, 5/16/05.

Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa)

Non-breeding Marbled Godwit in the Gulf of Mexico, Gulfport, Harrison County, MS, 10/16/17 Non-breeding Marbled Godwits and other birds, maybe Willets, in a puddle near the Gulf of Mexico shore, created by Hurricane Nate a few days earlier.  Gulfport, Harrison County, MS, 10/15/17 Non-breeding Marbled Godwit and Sanderling, north end of Ocracoke Island, Hyde County, NC, 5/23/12

Short-billed Dowitchers (Limnodromus griseus)

         
Short-billed Dowitchers (Limnodromus griseus), on the jetty at Ft. Fisher State Recreation Area, New Hanover County, NC, 10/21/14          

Spotted Sandpiper BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

         
Spotted Sandpiper at Lake Susan, Montreat, Buncombe County, NC, 5/2/12. Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia), Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 5/10/06          

Willet BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

 
Willet (Catoptrophorus semipalmatus), Fort Fisher Recreational Area, New Hanover County, NC, 6/21/07 Willet, Carolina Beach, NC, New Hanover County, NC, 9/18/07 Willets, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 3/11/11.  These are from a a group of eight.  

Greater Yellowlegs BBS Distribution Map, 1994-2003

   
Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes), Myakka River State Park, Sarasota County, FL, 1/25/17 Greater Yellowlegs, Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 5/10/06 Greater Yellowlegs, Huntington Beach State Park, SC, 3/18/08 Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes), Durham, 5/2/05.  This sandpiper appeared in a small swamp in my neighborhood.    

Pelicans (Pelecanidae family, Ciconiiformes order)

Brown Pelican BBS Summer Distribution Maps, 1994-2003

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis), South Lido Park, near Sarasota, FL, 2/10/03.  This little park has the tamest wildlife of any place I've ever seen.  People come here to fish on a regular basis and big birds such as this pelican waited for handouts.  This pelican was a wallflower, chased away by a fisherman who favored a great blue heron.  Brown Pelicans, Kure Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 4/29/05, in breeding plumage as is the pelican on the left. Brown Pelican,  Morehead City, Carteret County, NC, 3/22/05, in winter plumage. Brown Pelican, Kure Beach, NC, 4/29/05.  In breeding plumage. Juvenile Brown Pelican, Kure Beach, NC, 12/12/05.


   
Brown Pelican demonstrating bone structure of wings,  Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 3/9/09 Flying Brown Pelican, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 3/9/09 Diving Brown Pelican, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 3/9/09    

 

         
White Pelicans, Myakka River State Park, Sarasota County, FL, 1/25/17          

Anhingas (Anhingidae family, Ciconiiformes order)

Anhinga BBS Summer Distribution, 1994-2003

The anhingas in the first three pictures are non-breeding males according to Sibley.

Female Anhinga, Ringling Art Museum grounds, Sarasota, FL, 1/26/17 Female Anhinga, Ringling Art Museum grounds, Sarasota, FL, 12/4/14 Female Anhinga, St. Augustine, St. Johns County, FL, 3/13/13 Male Anhinga, Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL, 3/30/12 Male Anhinga, Audubon Swamp Garden, Charleston County, SC, 3/28/06

Cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae family, Ciconiiformes order)

Double-crested Cormorant BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

According to North Carolina GAP Analysis Project,  the double-crested cormorant has a NatureServe state rank of S1B, meaning its NC breeding population is "critically imperiled."

Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus), juvenile, Carolina Beach, NC, 8/8/02.  Cormorants don't have the oils necessary to keep their feathers waterproof, so they let them dry in this fashion.  Until you understand this, though, this process can be an alarming sight! Double-crested Cormorant, Carolina Beach, NC, 12/21/06 Adult (background) and young Double-crested Cormorants, Huntington Beach State Park, Georgetown County, SC, 3/18/08 Double-crested Cormorant, Huntington Beach State Park, Georgetown County, SC, 3/18/08


   
Some of hundreds, maybe thousands of (Double-crested?) Cormorants flying west, viewed from the Battle Acre parking lot.  Later on, far down the public beach (near the Cape Fear River), they took a right turn, toward the north.  There are a few birds in the water, which I'd guess to be Pied-bill Grebes.  Ft. Fisher State Recreation Area, New Hanover County, NC, 3/13/11.    

 

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