Home Field and Swamp: Animals and Their Habitats

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Archived-by-Date Pages

 

Birds that live on or near the water

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

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.

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Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatinae subfamily, Anatidae family, Anseriformes order)

With a very few obscure exceptions, the Anatinae family comprises almost all of the species in the Anseriformes order.

Ducks

Blue-winged Teals (Anas discors)

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

Male Blue-winged Teal, after preening but before feathers settled back in place, Turnbull Birding Center, Port Aransas, Nueces County, TX, 2/24/14 Male Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors), Audubon Swamp Garden, Charleston County, SC, 3/28/06. Female and male Blue-winged Teals, Audubon Swamp Garden

Green-winged Teals (Anas carolinensis)

   
Male Green-winged Teal, Turnbull Birding Center, Port Aransas, TX, 2/20/14 Green-winged Teals (male in the foreground), Turnbull Birding Center, Port Aransas, TX, 2/21/14  

Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)

Northern Pintail BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994, 2003

Northern Pintail Duck with Barnacle Goose and a Common Shelduck in the background, Duke Gardens, Durham, NC, 4/27/15 Northern Pintail, with another duck looking on, Duke Gardens, Durham, NC, 2/14/11 Northern Pintails, Lake Mattamuskeet, Hyde County, NC, 1/2/06

Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos)

Mallards BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

 
Mallard couple, Duke Gardens, 3/9/06.  Mallard pair, Durham, 2/15/17 Male Mallard, Durham, NC, 2/29/16 Same male Mallard  

 

         
Mallard family among Water Primroses, Durham, NC, 7/2/16 Mallard family, Durham, NC, 4/12/16 Mallard family, Duke Gardens, 5/29/03. 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 Two Mallard pairs seem to be protecting three male Greater Scaups and a female Bufflehead          

 

 
Mallards mating, with interlopers having given up, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 3/14/19 Male Mallard, Durham, NC, 3/6/16 Male Mallard, Larkspur, Marin County, CA, 5/5/16 Mallard bathing in a large puddle left by a big storm.  Ocracoke, NC, 5/23/12  

 

 
Mallard ducklings, Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 10/26/16 Mallard ducklings, with one sticking its feet out, Duke Gardens, Durham, NC, 4/27/15   Mallard duckling without a family, Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 4/20/16 Sixteen Mallard ducklings, Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 4/15/15 Twelve Mallard ducklings, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC, 4/8/12

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 (wild, not part of regular exhibit) Mallard-American Black Duck hybrid male with Mallard female, Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 10/23/16  

American Black Duck (Anas rubripes)

         
American Black Duck, Durham, NC, 9/17/17 American Black Ducks, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 8/5/18          

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    

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.        

Ruddy Ducks (Oxyura jamacensis)

       
Nonbreeding male Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis), Duke Gardens, Durham, NC, 4/6/09 Breeding male Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis), Lake Park, Carolina Beach, NC, 3/10/10 Female Ruddy Duck, Turnbull Center, Port Aransas, TX, 2/22/14        

Buffleheads (Bucephala albeola)

Bufflehead BBS Distribution Map, 1994-2003

Female Red-breasted Merganser and male Bufflehead, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 12/23/18 Male Bufflehead, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 12/22/18 Female Bufflehead, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 12/22/18 Female Bufflehead, 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)

Wood Duck BBS Distribution Map, 1994-2003

 
Male Wood Duck in apparently transitional-to-breeding plumage, Duke Gardens, Durham, NC, 3/17/16.  Wings have apparently been cut. Male Wood Duck in breeding plumage, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 11/11/13 Non-breeding male Wood Duck, Ft. Fisher Aquarium, New Hanover County, NC, 6/26/08  

 

         
Female Wood Duck with duckling, Moses Cone Memorial Park, Watauga County, NC, 7/18/13 Same female Wood Duck, showing colorful feathers Young Wood Ducks, Moses Cone Memorial Park, Watauga County, NC, 7/18/13          

 

Wood Duck, 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)

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

Muscovy Duck, Duke Gardens, Durham, NC, 2/14/11 Mellow Muscovy Duck being challenged by a Common Shelduck at Duke Gardens, Durham, NC, 3/16/10.  The showdown ended with the Muscovy Duck quietly getting in the water and swimming away. Muscovy Duck, Lake Lynn, Raleigh, NC, 8/29/02. Muscovy Duck, Audubon Park, New Orleans, LA, 11/4/18 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. 8/29/02, Raleigh, Wake County, NC This is one of the Muscovy ducklings pictured on the left.

Diving Ducks: Aythya genus

Greater Scaup (Athya marila)

Breeding male Greater Scaup, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 3/15/19 Two male Greater Scaups and a female Bufflehead, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 3/15/19 Greater Scaup pair, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 3/12/19

Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)

Lesser Scaup BBS Summer Distribution Map 1994-2003

       
Female Lesser Scaup, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 12/19/17 Lesser Scaup, Duke Gardens, Durham, NC, 3/17/16 Breeding male Lesser Scaup, 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  

Canvasback (Aythya valisineria)

Canvasback BBS Summer Distribution, 1994-2003

Canvasback, Duke Gardens, Durham, NC, 6/12/09

Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis)

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

 
Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Brackenridge Park, San Antonio, Bexar County, TX, 5/28/10 Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Audubon Park, New Orleans, Orleans Parish, LA, 11/5/16 Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, New Orleans, Orleans Parish, LA, 11/5/16 Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, New Orleans, Orleans Parish, LA, 11/5/16

Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)

Hooded Merganser BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

   
Hooded Mergansers, Sarasota, FL, 12/4/14 Hooded Mergansers, in a marsh in a residential Sarasota, FL, neighborhood on 12/2/14 Male Hooded Merganser, Sarasota, FL, 1/24/17 Hooded Merganser pair, Duke Gardens, Durham, NC, 3/17/16 Male Hooded Mergansers (only one clearly visible), North Carolina Museum of Art grounds, Raleigh, Wake County, NC, 11/13/16    

Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)

 
Breeding male Red-breasted Merganser, Mustang Island State Park, Port Aransas, TX, 2/7/13 Female Red-breasted Merganser and male Bufflehead, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC, 12/23/18 First-year Red-breasted Merganser, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, Wake County, NC, 3/26/16  

Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis)

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

         
Male Long-tailed Duck, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 11/11/12        

Ducks: Domestic

These ducks originated in Sweden and China, respectively, and can't be pinned down to a species.

 
Swedish Blue, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 3/8/09 (Crested) American Pekin Ducks, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 3/7/17  

Geese

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. 

Canada Geese (Branta Canadensis)

Canada Goose BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

Canada Goose landing, Washington, Beaufort, NC, Canada Goose, flying to catch its balance after slipping on lake ice.  Parkwood Lake, Durham, NC, 1/7/10 Canada Goose, River Park North, Greenville, Pitt County, NC, 1/31/16 Canada Geese, Durham, NC, 8/21/16

 

Canada Goose goslings, Larkspur, Marin County, CA, 4/27/18 Canada Goose goslings, Wannamaker County Park, Charleston County, SC, 3/28/06. Half-grown Canada Goose gosling, Wilmington, New Hanover County, NC, 6/23/07.  Seen near a drainage pond. Canada Goose family, Moses Cone Memorial Park, Watauga County, NC, 6/6/17

Canada Goose and Greylag Goose pair

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. 

 

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 hybrid 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 breed) Geese

Chinese Goose (Anser cygnoides) Bay St. Louis, Hancock County, MS, 10/15/10 Grey Saddleback Pomeranian Goose, a variety of Greylag Goose (Anser anser) 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, a breed of Greylag Geese (Anser anser),downtown Elizabeth City, Pasquotank County, NC, 12/20/08.  Egyptian Goose, Durham, NC, 3/29/09 Greylag (Barnyard) Geese, Black Mountain, NC, 7/14/02, according to Will Cook of Duke University.  This is a domestic species imported from Europe.     

Swans (Anatidae family, Anseriformes order)

Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)

Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus), Duke Gardens, Durham, NC, 4/6/09. This an exotic species, captive with clipped wings.

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

Mute Swan BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

Mute Swan, 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)

Tundra Swans, Lake Mattamuskeet, Hyde County, NC, 1/2/06

Cranes (Gruidae family, Gruiformes order)

Sandhill Cranes (Grus canadensis)

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

Whooping Cranes (Grus americana)

         
Whooping Cranes, Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Rockport, TX, 2/6/13          

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, Shipley Trail, Bailey Homestead, Sanibel, Lee County, FL, 2/22/19 Common Gallinule, Sarasota, FL, 1/24/17 Common Gallinule, Turnbull Birding Center, Port Aransas, Nueces County, TX, 2/7/13 Common Gallinule, 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 Coots, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 12/20/13 American Coot, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 3/15/19 American Coot, with distinctive foot showing, Washington, Beaufort County, NC, 11/12/11 American Coot, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 1/18/11 American Coot, Audubon Park, New Orleans, Orleans Parish, LA 11/05/16 American Coot, Ocracoke Island, Hyde County, NC, 5/19/05.   

 

         
About 75 American Coots, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, 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, showing feet.  Lake Park, Carolina Beach, NC, New Hanover County, NC, 3/11/11          

 

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

Limpkins (Aramidae family, Gruiformes)

Limpkin (Aramus guarana)

         
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, Gaviiformes 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, Podicipediformes 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 (Podilymbus podiceps)

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

 
Pied-billed Grebe, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 3/11/19 Pied-billed Grebe, Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center, Port Aransas, Nueces County, TX, 2/7/13 Pied-billed Grebe, in non-breeding plumage, Southpoint Swamp, Durham, NC, 11/26/12 Pied-billed Grebe, Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL, 3/30/12 Pied-billed Grebe, Port Aransas, Nueces County, TX, 2/21/14  

Horned Grebes (Podiceps auritus)

Horned Grebe BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003 

 
Horned Grebes, Bay St. Louis, Hancock County, MS, 1/9/09 Nonbreeding Horned Grebe, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, New Hanover County, NC, 12/28/15 Horned Grebe family, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, New Hanover County, NC, 12/28/15  

Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)

Breeding Eared Grebe, Larkspur, Marin County, CA, 4/28/17

Western Grebes (Aechmophorus occidentalis)

 
Western Grebe, Larkspur, Marin County, CA, 4/25/18 Western Grebes, Larkspur, Marin County, CA, 4/25/18 Western Grebe, at the ferry station in Tiburon, Marin County, CA, 10/4/12  

Kingfishers (Alcidinidae family, Alcedines suborder, Coraciiformes order)

Belted Kingfishers (Megaceryle alcyon)

         
Female Belted Kingfisher, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 3/11/19 Same female Belted Kingfisher          

Herons, Egrets and Bitterns (Ardeidae family, Pelicaniformes 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, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 3/11/19 Same Green Heron, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 3/15/19 Green Heron, Huntington Beach State Park, Georgetown County, SC, 6/25/12 Green Heron, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 12/20/17 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)

 
Reddish Egret, doing fish-flushing dance, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel, Lee County, FL, 2/23/19 Same Reddish Egret Same Reddish Egret Reddish Egret, South Lido Park, Sarasota County, FL, 12/2/14 Reddish Egret,  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 with "catch," Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 8/5/18 Tricolored Heron, Shipley Trail at Bailey Homestead, Fort Myers, Lee County, FL  2/22/19 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, 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 Transitional Little Blue Heron, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, NC, 3/11/19 Juvie Little Blue Heron. Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, NC, 12/20/17 Juvie Little Blue Heron, Sarasota, FL, 1/24/17 Juvie Little Blue Heron, Shipley Trail, Bailey Homestead, Sanibel, Lee County, FL, 2/22/19        

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, Duke Gardens, Durham, NC, 3/16/10 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 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, 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, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, New Hanover County, NC, 8/13/18 Snowy Egret, South Lido Park, Sarasota County, FL, 12/2/14 Snowy Egret, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 3/13/19 Snowy Egret, Bowditch Point Park, Fort Myers, Lee County, FL, 2/20/19 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 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. Snowy Egret, 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          

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, Marin County, CA, 4/27/18 Maybe the same Black-crowned Night Heron, over marsh Black-crowned Night Heron, Larkspur ferry terminal, Marin County, CA, 9/11/14 Young Black-crowned Night Heron, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel, Lee County, FL, 12/3/15 Another young Black-crowned Night Heron, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel, Lee County, FL, 12/3/15 Young Black-crowned Night Heron, Larkspur, Marin County, CA, 4/29/18 Black-crowned Night-Heron, town of Ocracoke, 5/19/05.   This was probably the first of this species that I ever saw. Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron, Roanoke Island Marsh Game Land, 2/17/11.  Grass in the foreground created the bokeh.   

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, Pelicaniformes order)

White Ibises (Eudocimus albus)

White Ibis BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

Adult White Ibises, Ft. Fisher Recreation Area, New Hanover County, NC, 8/29/12 Subadult White Ibises, Ft. Fisher Recreation Area, New Hanover County, NC, 8/29/12 White Ibises, 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. 

 

         
White Ibises, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, New Hanover County, NC, 3/14/19 White Ibis, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel, Lee County, FL, 2/23/19 White Ibis, South Lido Park, Sarasota, FL, 4/1/12          

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)

         
Wood Stork, Lake Morton, Lakeland, FL, 8/13/10.  Copyright © Noela T. Martell Segura 2010 Wood Storks, St. Augustine, FL, 3/13/13 Wood Stork, Anastasia State Park, St. Augustine, FL, 3/28/15 Wood Stork standing among water hyacinths, Myakka River State Park, Sarasota County, FL, 12/3/14 Wood Stork landing at Shipley Trail, Bailey Homestead, Sanibel, Lee County, FL, 2/22/19 Same Wood Stork Wood Storks, Huntington Beach State Park, Georgetown County, NC, 6/25/12          

Gulls (Laridae family, Charadriiformes order)

Ring-billed Gulls (Larus delawarensis)

 
Ring-billed Gull, 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, 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

Herring Gulls (Larus argentatus)

 
Second-year juvie Herring Gull , Ocracoke, 5/9/04. First-year juvie Herring Gulls, over Pamlico Sound, Hyde County, NC, 4/12/15 Almost-adult Herring Gull, over Pamlico Sound, Hyde County, NC, 4/17/16 Adult Herring Gull, over Pamlico Sound, Hyde County, NC, 4/17/16 Breeding adult Herring Gull, over Pamlico Sound, Hyde County, NC, 4/12/15  

Laughing Gulls (Leucophaeus atricilla)

Laughing Gulls' courtship. Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 5/22/17 Juvenile Laughing Gull,  Kure Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 12/14/04.

Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)

 
Great Black-backed Gull, Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 5/15/07 Great Black-backed Gull, Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 10/24/16 Flock of Great Black-backed Gulls, same day Four Great Black-backed Gulls, same day  

Bonaparte's Gull (Chroicocephalus philadelphia)

       
Bonaparte's Gull, Myrtle Beach, SC, 3/17/08 Bonaparte's Gull, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 1/19/12        

Terns (Sternidae family, Charadriiformes order)

Royal Tern (Sterna maxima)

Royal Tern (Sterna maxima), non-breeding plumage.  Battery Buchanan (Federal Point), Ft. Fisher Recreation Area, New Hanover County, NC, 3/13/11 Royal Tern (Sterna maxima), breeding plumage. Battery Buchanan (Federal Point), Ft. Fisher Recreation Area, New Hanover County, NC, 3/13/11 Royal Tern (Sterna maxima) preparing to dive, Pamlico Sound near Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 5/22/12

Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri)

         
Forster's Tern, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, New Hanover County, NC, 3/12/19 Forster's Terns, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, New Hanover County, NC, 3/12/19 Forster's Tern, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, New Hanover County, NC, 3/12/19 Forster's Tern, Gulfport, Harrison County, MS, 1/10/09. Forster's Tern, Sarasota, FL, 12/2/14 Forster's Tern about to dive, Sarasota, FL, 2/25/18 Forster's Tern, Sarasota, FL, 2/25/18          

Least Tern (Sterna antillarum)

Least Tern, Cedar Island, Hyde County, NC, 5/8/13

Sandwich Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis)

         
Sandwich Tern, Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 4/18/19 Sandwich Tern, seen from the bridge from the mainland, Causeway Islands Park, Lee County, FL, 12/5/15 Sandwich Tern, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 9/15/15 Sandwich Tern, Ocracoke, New Hanover County, NC, 5/22/18 Sandwich Tern, Ocracoke, New Hanover County, NC, 5/24/18          

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

Piping Plovers (Charadrius melodus)

         
First-year Piping Plover, which eventually flew past me after walking toward me. Ocracoke Island (north end), Hyde County, NC, 10/27/16          

Semipalmated Plovers (Charadrius semipalmatus)

     
Nonbreeding Semi-palmated Plover, Gulfport, Harrison County, MS, 10/16/17 Nonbreeding Semipalmated Plover, Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 5/26/18 Breeding Semi-palmated Plover, Cedar Island, Hyde County, NC, 5/8/13 Another breeding Semipalmated Plover, Ocracoke Island, Hyde County, NC, 5/12/09 Juvie Semipalmated Plover at Ft. Fisher 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 juvie Semipalmated 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

 
Killdeers, maybe parent and offspring, Carolina Lake, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 3/14/19 Killdeer, Larkspur, Marin County, CA, 4/27/18 Killdeer, Gulfport, Harrison County, MS, 10/16/17 Killdeer, Cedar Island, Hyde County, NC, 5/8/13 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  

Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)

 
Black-bellied Plover, Ocracoke Island, Hyde County, NC, 5/23/18 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 by the Cape Fear River, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, New Hanover County, NC, 12/21/17 Same American Oystercatcher with prey American Oystercatcher, at the north end of Ocracoke Island, Hyde County, NC, 4/19/19 American Oystercatchers, Battery Buchanan jetty, Ft. Fisher Recreational Area, New Hanover County, NC, 12/27/15 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, Charadriiformes order)

Sanderlings (Calidris alba)

 
Sanderling in breeding plumage, Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 5/27/17 Nonbreeding Sanderling, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 12/3/12 Sanderling in breeding plumage, Ocracoke Island, Hyde County, NC, 5/24/12 Transitional Sanderling (Calidris alba), Ocracoke, 5/9/04.  A kind of sandpiper. JuvieSanderling, 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 Sandpipers, at the ferry area in Larkspur, Marin County, NC, 4/29/18          

Red Knot (Calidris canutus, subspecies rufa)

         
Red Knots, two in breeding plumage, Ocracoke Island, Hyde County, NC, 5/26/18 Red Knots seeking mollusks, one in breeding plumage, Ocracoke Island, Hyde County, NC, 5/26/18 Most of a large group of Red Knots, Ocracoke Island, Hyde County, NC, 5/26/18 Red Knot flying, 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, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 12/23/18 Ruddy Turnstone, Gulfport, Harrison County, MS, 10/15/17.  Probably a juvenile. 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

 

 
Breeding Ruddy Turnstone, Ocracoke Island, Hyde County, NC, 5/23/18 Transitional breeding Ruddy Turnstone, Port Aransas, Nueces County, TX, 2/6/13 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    

Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus)

         
Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus), Mustang Island, Nueces County, TX, 2/5/13          

Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)

         
Whimbrel, Larkspur, Marin County, CA, 4/28/17          

Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia)

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 (Catoptrophorus semipalmatus)

Willet BBS Summer Distribution Map, 1994-2003

 
Willet, South Lido Park, Sarasota County, FL, 12/2/14 Willet, Pine Knoll Shores, Carteret County, NC, 8/22/16 Breeding Willet, Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 4/23/16 Willet, Carolina Beach, NC, New Hanover County, NC, 9/18/07 Willet, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, 8/27/12 Willet, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 11/11/13  

 

Willet, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, 12/3/15 Willet, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, 2/23/19 Another Willet, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, 2/23/19 Willet, Gulfport, Harrison County, MS, 10/18/15 Willet, Fort Fisher Recreational Area, New Hanover County, NC, 6/21/07

Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa genus)

Greater Yellowlegs BBS Distribution Map, 1994-2003

   
Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes), Myakka River State Park, Sarasota County, FL, 1/25/17 Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes), Port Aransas Nature Preserve at Charlie's Pasture, Nueces County, TX  2/23/14   Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes), Port Aransas Nature Preserve at Charlie's Pasture, Nueces County, TX  2/24/14 Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca), Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 5/10/06 Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes), Durham, 5/2/05. This sandpiper appeared in a small swamp in my neighborhood.    

Wilson's Snipe (Gallinago delicata)

 
Wilson's Snipe (Gallinago delicata), Port Aransas, Nueces County, TX, 2/22/14  

American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana)

 
Avocet, Corte Madera Ecological Reserve, Marin County, CA, 4/27/18 Same Avocet  

Pelicans (Pelecanidae family, Pelicaniformes order)

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)

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    

American White Pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

         
American White Pelicans, Myakka River State Park, Sarasota County, FL, 1/25/17 American White Pelicans (three with breeding horns), Sarasota, FL, 2/27/18 American White Pelicans, which never returned after this evening, Gulfport, Harrison County, MS, 10/11/17          

 

         
American White Pelicans, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, Lee County, FL, 2/23/19 American White Pelicans (and a few Double-crested Cormorants), Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, Lee County, FL, 12/5/15 American White Pelican (with breeding horn), Sarasota, FL, 2/27/18 American White Pelican, New Orleans, LA, 11/11/18.  Just visiting the zoo!          

Boobies and Gannets (Sulidae family, Suliformes order)

 
First-year Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster), St. Augustine Beach, FL, 3/25/15 Same first-year Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster) with protective Brown Pelicans, St. Augustine Beach, FL, 3/25/15 Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus), downtown St. Augustine, FL, 3/12/13  

Anhingas (Anhingidae family, Suliformes order)

Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)

Anhinga BBS Summer Distribution, 1994-2003

 
Female Anhinga calling (croaking sound), Ding Darling National Wildlife Nature Preserve, Sanibel Island, Lee County, FL, 12/4/15 Female Anhinga, Ringling Art Museum grounds, Sarasota, FL, 1/26/17 Female Anhinga, Ringling Art Museum grounds, Sarasota, FL, 12/4/14 Possibly immature male Anhinga, St. Augustine, St. Johns County, FL, 3/13/13 Male Anhinga, Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL, 3/30/12 Nonbreeding male Anhinga, Sarasota Bay, Sarasota, FL, 12/2/14  

Cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae family, Suliformes order)

Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)

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

Nonbreeding adult Double-crested Cormorant, River Park North, Greenville, Pitt County, NC, 1/6/19 First-year Double-crested Cormorant, Boone, Watauga County, NC, 10/15/18 First-year Double-crested Cormorant, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, New Hanover County, NC, 12/26/15 First-year Double-crested Cormorant, Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 10/23/16 First-year Double-crested Cormorant, Turner Beach, Captiva Island, Lee County, FL, 12/4/15 First-year 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! Adult (background) and first-year 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

 

         
Double-crested Cormorants and gulls, Big Foot Island Island (near Ocracoke Island), Hyde County, NC, 10/22/16          

 



   
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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