Saturday, October 31, 2015

Roseate Spoonbill, Huntington Beach State Park, SC

Wading in the knee deep water of Huntington Beach State Park, South Carolina, the Roseate Spoonbill is a crowd pleaser. Not shy or flighty by normal bird standards, the Roseate Spoonbill goes about its daily search for food.

There is little doubt as to how the spoonbill got its name. Probing the mud with its spatula shaped bill, the Roseate Spoonbill finds its food beneath the water. With a side to side head swinging motion, the spoonbill slices the mud snapping shut on invertebrates and crustaceans.

                Additionally, fine comb-like filters on the edges of the bill strain the mud for small edibles.

An uncommon sight for birders in South Carolina, the Roseate Spoonbill just barely reaches North America, instead preferring Central and South America. The gulf coast states of Texas and Florida would be your best opportunity of predictably finding one.

The visitors at Huntington Beach State Park, SC were treated to a special sight this day. Tourists line the saltwater basin at high tide.

Alligators live here, too.

Something made this one stir and prompted a quiet slip into the water...his back is still dry.

A spoonbill could be on his mind.

A couple of spoonbills and a White Ibis (center) go about their search for food.

If the alligator got its back wet it could sneak up on one of these sizable's a meal!

But this alligator may not have been hungry today. Never-the-less, the spoonbills gave the alligator a wide margin for any error in judgement. While making a broad arc, they keep an eye on the 'gator', still never missing an opportunity for a tidbit of food.

The other eye was looking for the next serious threat.

You may be far more aware of the other 'pink' bird, the Flamingo. It's an easy mistake.

Yet, it is hard to mistake a Roseate Spoonbill on careful, close-up examination. The bill is just so obvious.

Don't let the 'pink' in the 'Roseate' Spoonbill confuse you. It's a whole 'nother bird.


Credits: Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds