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Posts Tagged ‘Atlantic Coast Bird Watching’

Beach Bird Watching (Looking into Looking Up)

Posted by E.G.D. on July 19, 2013

I was reading an article this morning about bird photography on the coast of Marco Island.  Apparently, at the island’s Tigertail Beach, that sort of thing is a serious spectator sport, in that not only did the journalist seem to be watching the birds, he seemed to be watching the photographers, and he seemed to expect his readers to be as interested in the photographers as in the birds.  He talked about the photographers and camera equipment, in fact, significantly more than he talked about the birds.  This makes journalistic sense, in that the article was published in the Marco Eagle, Marco’s local newspaper.

This brings me, in a roundabout way, to my point.  It seems to me that most beach-goers who are not bird photographers or birdwatchers are unlikely to go to the beach to seek out interesting avian life.  We flock to boat tours for whale watching, or dolphin spotting.  We squeal like children when we spot a sea turtle.  We go snorkeling or scuba diving to see interesting fish.  We brave the natural smelliness of seals to see them basking in the sun.  Is it just me, or do we spend most of our wildlife energy on the beaches in looking down?

I’m a sheller.  I’ll admit, I’m guilty as charged!

Beach Birding on the Texas Gulf Coast

Beach Birding on the Texas Gulf Coast

Why don’t we, for the sake of shaking up our usual beach routines, spend a little time enjoying the wildlife that occasionally goes up?  For those of you who are interested, here is a series of fun links concerning beach bird watching all over the U.S. :

Birding the Great Lakes Beaches (Tundra Swans, Bald Eagles and many more!):

Bird Watching at Waukegan Municipal Beach

Birding the Great Lakes Seaway Trail

Birding areas in the Great Lakes Bay Region

Birding the East Coast:

Birding Assateague Island National Seashore(Funny thing, I’ve actually been to this area, and I don’t remember a single bird.  Not because the birds weren’t there, but because I wasn’t looking!)

Space Coast Birding

Pacific Coast Beach Birding - Santa Cruz, California

West Coast Beach Birding – Santa Cruz, California

Birding the West Coast:

The Bird Guide (there are some good links on this site for the Pacific Northwest coast)

Focus on Birds

Bird Watching in San Diego

Birding Hawaii’s Shores:

Hawaiian Audobon

Gulf Of Mexico Beach Birding:

Alabama Gulf Coastal Birding Trail

Birds of the Upper Texas Coast

Cool, huh?  I’ve been looking up things to look up at all morning, and actually, most of them seem to spend quite a lot of their time wading.  Still, aren’t they fun?  Enjoy! -E.G.D.

~~~ Originally published Jul 27, 2011 ~~~

Please feel free to share your coastal bird watching experiences and/or your favorite beach birding site!

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Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Birding, Beaches of North America, Inland Shores | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

The Black Skimmer

Posted by Greg on January 4, 2012

Black Skimmer. Photo by Dan Pancamo (Wikimedia Commons)

The Black Skimmer is a unique and quite beautiful bird. Its name describes its top color and its feeding method. According to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology,  “the remarkable bill of the Black Skimmer sets it apart from all other American birds. The large red and black bill is knife-thin and the lower mandible is longer than the upper.”

Another fascinating trait of the Black Skimmer is its call.  Dave Mehlman of  The Nature Conservancy says “it has a call somewhat like a dog, a distinct voice among coastal birds in the United States. In fact, some have described the black skimmer as an ‘aerial beagle.’ ”

Dave Melman continues, “the skimmer feeds by flying low over the water and putting its lower bill into the water. As it flies along, when it encounters a fish with its lower bill, the upper bill snaps down instantly and the skimmer catches and eats the fish. The key to this whole feeding mechanism is that the lower bill is shaped like a knife, with a narrow leading edge. So, it can literally slice through the water while flying along at a normal speed.”

Black Skimmer. Photo by Dan Pancamo (Wikimedia Commons)

The Black Skimmer is found in Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas of North America from Massachusetts south to Central and South America. It likes to frequent open sandy beaches, and it nests on low-lying sandy areas with low vegetation.

Watching birds is one of many things we enjoy at the seashore. From pelicans to plovers to birds of prey, all are unique and beautiful, and it’s a lot of fun to discover new and different coastal birds. Watch for more beach birds on Wild Wednesdays to come, and in the meantime, happy beach birdwatching!

As always, please feel free to tell us about your favorite beach bird-spotting experiences in the comment box below.  Also, you may consider submitting a guest article on the subject.  We’re always happy to see your ideas!

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Birding | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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