Bird Notes | Trip to Myrtle Beach area state park offers storks, egrets, herons and more

November 5, 2013 

A great egret shows a bit flair upon landing.

BY GARY PHILLIPS — For The Sun News

On the cusp of the arrival of the most recent cool front, Jack Peachey and I made a trip to Huntington Beach State Park on Nov. 3 to see what feathery finds we might make.

Under clear skies and brilliant sunshine, we made our way alongside the causeway to scope out Mullet Pond. A few wood storks were hunkered down in the grasses on the backside of the pond. Several great egrets were plying their trade around the pond, and two greater yellowlegs along with a single dunlin offered nice views as they rested in the shallows.

A willet was noted, along with a number of ring-billed gulls loafing in a shallow area. A few tricolored herons and snowy egrets were fishing, and two immature little blue herons gave nice looks as they leisurely flew across the causeway into the salt marsh.

A number of great blue herons were seen scattered about the pond and salt marsh. Several Forster’s terns were observed diving for fish, and two royal terns put in a fly-by appearance. An osprey arrived, circling and hovering for a few minutes, then gliding away over the salt marsh. A number of pied-billed grebes were swimming and diving across the pond. A few double-crested cormorants were observed, as was at least one anhinga.

A small raft of ducks were seen across the pond, but took flight before an identification could be made. A small flock of red-winged blackbirds were noted making their way across the salt marsh, while several gators offered fairly close-up photo ops as they basked in the morning sun along the pond edges.

A walk down the Carriage Path offered a considerable number of yellow-rumped warblers flitting about in the trees and shrubs, giving their continual “check” calls.

Several Eastern towhees were calling and two were seen foraging alongside the path with a white-throated sparrow. Eastern phoebes were heard and seen.

A small flurry of activity at the edge of Mallard Pond revealed more white-throated sparrows along with some song sparrows. Included in the activity were numerous yellow-rumpeds along with a late prairie warbler.

Several common gallinules along with a few American coots were easily observed foraging in the pond. A few great and snowy egrets were also noted.

Farther down the path another yellow-rumpled foraging flock included a black-and-white warbler along with a ruby-crowned kinglet. A gray catbird skulked in the shadows of shrubs alongside the path, while a Northern mockingbird and brown thrasher were also seen.

Reach GARY PHILLIPS at 248-4595 or carolinensis@yahoo.com.

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