Birds of Seabrook Island

COAST BIRDS
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ANECDOTES

  Gros Morne, NF
 
 

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Species Acct.
Loons
Grebes
Procellarids
Pelicans
Herons
Ibises
Storks
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Waterfowl
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Quail
Rails
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Shrikes
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Kinglets
Gnatcatchers
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Pipits
Waxwings
NW Warblers
Tanagers
NWSparrows
Cardinalines
Icterids
Finches
OWSparrows

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  Order Gaviiformes - Divers, Loons
   Family Gaviidae - Loons
  Loons (divers) are relatively large waterbirds found in the Northern Hemisphere. Their legs are set far back on their bodies making it difficult or impossible for them to walk on land - three forward toes are webbed and they are powerful swimmers. They are also strong fliers and migrate to our coast in winter. They molt their flight feathers simultaneously after breeding and become flightless while new feathers grow. They dive and pursue fish underwater using their eyes. 
     
MORE
     
  Red-throated Loon (Red-throated Diver), Gavia stellata
 
  Cornell     USGS   Wiki     ToL     EoL
        WINTER, MIGRATION - Common (but local) / Occasional - more likely in the fall)
            SOUNDS, SEA COASTS (inshore) / BEACH
 
 
   Red-throated Loons are smaller, slimmer divers - just a bit larger than Red-breasted Mergansers. The non-breeding adult has a white face and neck. The back is lightly speckled. Their bill is gray and slender. In breeding adults, the back is dark, the head and neck gray with a fusty throat patch. This is the only loon capable of taking flight from land rather than by running across water.
Red-throated Loon
     
Red-throated Loon.
Huntington Beach State Park.
Photo by Ed Konrad
       
  RANGE: Red-throated Loons breed on the Arctic islands, around the Arctic coast from Alaska to Newfoundland, and in tundra areas of northern central Canada. They winter along both coasts south to northwest Mexico. They are found around the pole (circumpolar) in the Holarctic region. They are known as the Red-throated Diver in Europe.
  BREEDING: Ponds and shallow lakes in tundra and in coastal flats south of tundra. Monogamous. One brood/year. Both sexes help build the saucer shaped nest or scrape on muddy ground. It is located near water and may occasionally be a platform of mud and vegetation. Females lay 2 (1-3) eggs which the female (with some help) incubates for 24-29 days. Eggs hatch asynchronously. The young are subprecocial - they leave the nest about a day after hatching, swimming and often riding on their parent's backs. They can fly after 49-51 days (7 weeks). They have only one brood per year. They are tended by both parents who may remain united for life.
   Red-throated Loons often nest on small ponds with no food and must forage in larger lakes or the ocean. When returning they always land on the water, never at the nest. The banner photo shows a suitable lake in Newfoundland.
  DIET: These loons feed mostly on small fish obtained by diving (also some frogs, aquatic invertebrates and insects). Their eyes are adapted for both aerial and underwater vision. They may also eat some plant material in early spring. They feed their young mainly insects and crustaceans for the first few days.
  VOICE: Their voice is a drawn-out, gull-like wailing or shrieking, quite unlike the haunting calls of the Common Loon.
  NOTES:
   Checklists -
      Seabrook. Kiawah - uncommon fall, occasional winter, common spring.
      Coastal - fairly common winter visitor. Hilton Head - uncommon winter visitor. Cape Romain - rare/-/rare/uncommon.
         Huntington Beach
- uncommon April, rare May, uncommon October, common November - February, uncommon March.
   CBC: Charleston 2, 0, 285, 6, 0, 0, 3, 2;
            Hilton Head 0, 0, 4, 9, 2, 52, 0, 7; Sun City/Okatie 15, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0;
            McClellanville 0, 1, 3, 1, nc, 3, 4, 3; Winyah Bay x, x, 0, 3, 0, 6, 12, 0; Litchfield/Pawley's 32, 495, 870, 45, 653, 445, 41, 387.
   P&G: Uncommon to fairly common winter visitor, especially during migrations (may be abundant). Dates 12 October - 18 May.
   Avendex: 4 coastal records. 1,000 birds reported in Charleston Co. March 10, 1962. Dates: 12 October - 18 May.
   Potter: Fairly common winter resident mid-October to mid-May. This species is seen primarily close inshore, especially in sounds and inlets, where it generally outnumbers the Common Loon.
  ●   Not very likely off our beaches -. I have not seen this species on Seabrook - Kiawah's summer record might be a young bird. Look for it along the coast north of Charleston toward Huntington Beach State Park and Murrell's Inlet where it may be as abundant as Common Loons.. Remember it is a smaller loon - about the size of a merganser... 
 
   
  Banner - Deer Lake? Gros Morne, Newfoundland. Likely breeding area for this loon.
 
 

KEY:    ■ Seabrook list     □ Kiawah list