Living Columns & Blogs

Bird Notes | Storks, roseate spoonbills spotted at Huntington Beach State Park

A juvenile yellow-crowned night heron stalks prey at Huntington Beach State Park.
A juvenile yellow-crowned night heron stalks prey at Huntington Beach State Park. For The Sun News

With fall bird migration underway, the annual aggregations of wading birds at Huntington Beach State Park and other area wetlands offers the opportunity to observe a diverse variety of avian species.

Wood stork numbers continue to increase, with as many as 100 reported recently from the park’s causeway area.

While a single roseate spoonbill has been sighted sporadically amid the wood stork contingent for a few weeks, last week as many as four of these amazing birds were noted foraging in Mullet Pond near the causeway.

The usual variety of herons and egrets are also in residence, with great blue, little blue, tricolored and green herons; great and snowy egrets; black-crowned and yellow-crowned night herons; along with white and occasional glossy ibis observed.

Anhinga and double-crested cormorant may be seen plying their trades or drying their wings in the causeway area. Black, royal, common and Sandwich terns are also being seen, as are osprey and bald eagle.

Clapper rails are also present, evidenced by their calls emanating from marsh grasses. A few laughing gulls, mostly juveniles, are also present.

Shorebirds seen include black-bellied and semipalmated plovers, killdeer, least, Western and semipalmated sandpipers, lesser and greater yellowlegs, and willet.

A few painted buntings continue at feeders located by the park’s Nature Center along with a number of resident species. At least a pair of common ground doves has been noted sporadically feeding beneath the feeders or perched inconspicuously in nearby vegetation.

Songbird migration in our area is underway as well, and a couple of folks have reported finding Baltimore orioles visiting their feeders in the past week.

A number of these beautiful birds over-winter in the Myrtle Beach area, and can be attracted to backyards with a variety of food items, including hummingbird feeders, grape jelly, fresh orange sections, dried mealworms, suet and peanuts.

Our tiniest feathered friends continue to make their way into and through the area as they trek southward toward their more tropical winter destinations.

We’re currently experiencing the peak numbers; their numbers will decrease over the next few weeks, and by the end of October the vast majority that are heading for more southern winter sites will have passed through.

However, many opt to spend winter in the Myrtle Beach area each year, and some return to the same sites they wintered at in previous years.

So keep your feeders clean and maintained with a solution of one part sugar to four parts water with no other additives, and let me know of the hummingbird activity in your backyard.