Date: 1/13/18 5:40 pm From: James Watson (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...> Subject: Sea Ducks and Seabirds Horry and Georgetown Counties, SC
Pam Ford, Ed Blitch and I birded the 2nd Avenue Pier in Myrtle Beach, SC, and Huntington Beach State Park near Murrells Inlet, South Carolina today and we had 9 duck species typically associated with the ocean and nearshore habitats, no puddle ducks, all sea ducks or divers. We started off with the King Eider at the 2nd Avenue Pier, and also had all three scoter species there. Many birders showed up there for the eider, which was mostly on the north side of the pier and was always alone, and really not too far out from the beach. Bufflehead and Red-breasted Merganser were also observed nearby. 10 White Pelicans were also observed over the ocean here. There was a large raft of Black Scoters and some White-winged Scoters about 100m out from the pier.
At Huntington Beach State Park on the walk to the jetties and at the jetties we had approximately 1800 gulls feeding on dead marine organisms washed up on the beach which probably succumbed to the recent frigid weather. We estimated about 1400 Ring-billed Gulls, 260 Bonaparte’s Gulls, 60 Herring Gulls, a few dozen Laughing Gulls, and one Great Black-backed and one Lesser Black-backed Gull. Sea Ducks here included two Long-tailed Ducks, Common Goldeneye, at least 5 Surf Scoters (some nice striking males), a dozen or more White-winged Scoters, Black Scoter, Red-breasted Mergansers, Bufflehead, and Ruddy Duck. The majority of the sea duck action was between the jetties. We had several Red-throated Loons and over 30 Common Loons, plenty of Horned Grebes, and one White Pelican. One Red Knot was mixing with Ruddy Turnstones on the jetty rocks, and we had about 600 Dunlin, over 100 Western Sandpipers. Semipalmated and Black-bellied Plovers were also present in the Least Tern nesting area. Forster’s Tern were present in good numbers and there were two Royal Terns.