Wood Storks and Spring??


This morning, driving to the Marina to get a newspaper, I noticed a lot of pine pollen by the puddles . It had rained during the night and the green stuff was everywhere. Could spring be just around the corner? Seems a bit early and we’ve hardly had any winter weather yet.

Driving back I noticed two large birds in the marsh along the road going over to Sawgrass Bluffs. Could they be Wood Storks (also called Wood Ibis)? I turned onto Marsh Dunes Road to get a better look.They were; a pair, feeding in the tidal marsh. Ronnie and I saw a pair along the 13th fairway at Ocean Creek last week. I was quite surprised at the time because I don’t remember ever seeing one on Fripp Island. They are very large  and unusual in appearance. They looked strangely out of place with the white marsh waders that live on the lagoon there along the fairway. I looked at the Fripp Audubon Club website and found this reference:

In lower left see comment about "Infrequent Visitors"

Since, these birds are “infrequent” if not rare visitors to Fripp Island,  I must think the pair this morning were the same ones we saw last week.  Wood Storks are very large, standing 3 feet or more tall, with a wing span of 4 to almost 6 feet. I have been joined in thermals with them while soaring at Seminole-Lake in Florida. On the ground they are not very attractive but spectacular when soaring.

Wood Stork Soaring

Wood Stork Feeding

Speaking of bird behavior, we have seen sea gulls flying in very large flocks behind our house several times in the past two or three weeks.

I can’t remember seeing this before. As far as I know these shore birds normally  stick very close to the shore so flying around in a huge flock away from the shore must have some purpose. But what? I’m aware that birds form flocks to migrate like this flock of Black Skimmers. I shot these on the beach here in late fall a couple years ago.

Black Skimmers flocking on Fripp Island seashore in late fall

So, is spring on the way…. I really don’t know…… so I’m going to Florida next week and fly gliders.

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