What bird is this? (Nesting seabird, SC coast)

It’s embarrassing that I totally volunteer at a wildlife rehab and still totally suck at identifying birds, even with the online tools we have now - seriously, if it isn’t a cardinal or a robin or a crow or a heron or a duck or a chimney swift or a buzzard or a woodpecker or, like, a flamingo? Forget it.

So of course there were tons of unfamiliar birds Saturday on Bulls Island, but this one we were really interested in - it had a big messy nest in a huge dead tree in the surf. We couldn’t get close enough to get a good picture of it in its nest, and the best ones we got it was in flight (pretending that wasn’t its nest at all - the second we got within several hundred feet of it it it flew over to another tree and wouldn’t go near the nest. We’re pretty sure it started out there though.) Quite a large bird; not something I’ve seen (or noticed, anyway) on other beaches.

Here’s a picture of it inflight and one with the nest.

I’m pretty sure it’s an osprey.

Looks like an Osprey to me, although the pictures are kinda small.

Personally, I think it is an osprey. But that’s just me ;).

We certainly have them here. I’m near Charleston and we have a pair nesting on a cell tower nearby. They take fish out of the nearby lake. Damn big birds.

Have you done the Bull Island trip? It is FANTASTIC and the weather is so great this time of year. Gators are pretty sassy, though.


I’d say that it is an osprey. The tiltrotors are distinctive.

Oh, I guess I was looking at the wrong pictures. :smack:

Value-added contribution: According to the Wikipedia article, the Osprey Watch website allows you to report this nest and add to their database, or alternately look up whether the nestsite is already known.

I assume that they’re gathering osprey nest information for good reasons (conservation, as they say) rather than nefarious ones (like… umm… I got nothing).

ETA: Poking around the interactive (google) map I don’t see a reported osprey nestsite in the vicinity of Bulls Island (assuming I’m identifying Bulls Island correctly), so this may be an opportunity to contribute a sighting there if you’re inclined.

Oh, cool! I can definitely do that, I know right where it was.

There were a ton of them there, not just the one involved with this nest. Every time they flew over us on the beach there was this huge shadow - very impressive birds.

Thank you for that Osprey Watch site! As I said in another thread recently, I have a pair nesting right in front of my work, on a lightpole in the parking lot. I saw a chick this morning stick his little head up, in point of fact. Off to enter my data (they successfully raised a pair last year)…

Gators galore, but not sassy. Sassy are the mosquitoes and no amount of repellent will keep them away. I actually saw one of the red wolves when they were relocated there a few years ago. (They have since been re-relocated.) At first I thought it was a German shepherd, until I realized there are no dogs on the island. It had just come out of the thicket, apparently because a group of people had just passed. I was way behind that group. After we stared at each other for a minute, it jumped back into the thicket.

Yeah, the mosquitoes were… impressive. The gators were fat and sassy. The guides told us to just go around them if they were in the path, and we were all “okay, sure, boss!” Then when we actually saw one and it was lying right across the path and we’d have to go within a couple feet of the business end…

If you want to see a really unimpressed alligator, try waving your sun hat at it and yelling “EXCUSE ME MR. ALLIGATOR!”

He did eventually move. I think he was just embarrassed for me.

They evidently just had a litter of red wolf pups at the nearby wildlife center, but they’re not on display. Picture in the paper was cute as the dickens though.

Although small, the photos are diagnostic for Osprey.

J.D.F.,** you should check out this news video. :slight_smile:

When it comes to nesting, ospreys’ M.O. is to pile a bunch of sticks on top of a dead tree or other high object (streetlight, cell phone tower, power substation) that’s within a mile or so of open water. I used to work at a college that was right on Tampa Bay, and a pair of ospreys made a nest on a streetlight on campus and raised a family. I occasionally got to see them bringing fish back to the youngun’s, which was pretty cool to see.

Does anyone else think it might be an osprey?

I’m actually surprised I recognised it, because I’ve never been to the US and I’m not at all familiar with American birds. I clicked more in hope than anything else, but ospreys are very distinctive, and also found in India, where I’m from. Beautiful birds - I was lucky enough to see a pair fishing on a lake near my house several years ago.

Rio by Duran Duran

ETA: I apologize, that was uncalled for

The return of osprey indicate the return of spring here in coastal NJ. What’s amazing is the fact that they migrate to Venezuela (and even further south) each fall. They then return to the same nest come spring. They have really bounced back since the 70s and some of the local fishermen blame them for the decline in the summer flounder population. It couldn’t be the thousands of fisherman causing it, right?

I haven’t, but I’d like to. I get busy enough out on Lake Moutrie spying on otters with my kayak and such. The gators always look at kayaks weird.