Whatever it is, we saw it flying last week and again today but we’ve never seen it before in the canal. This is in Columbia, South Carolina, and we’re down there running all the time - we see tons of Great Blue Herons, ducks, Canada geese, egrets, once a kingbird. And enough songbirds to choke a goat. But this thing, we don’t know. I played around on whatbird.com and couldn’t find it - we thought perhaps it was a juvenile of something we’re more familiar with?
It’s fairly large (not quite as big, I think, as the herons but pretty big) and very dark or black all over, or at least on its back and neck. The beak is long and pointy and yellow, like the herons. It had a long neck. Today we saw it paddling around on the canal and diving (it stayed under a good long time and came up a good ways from where it went down.) We haven’t seen it on the shore so we don’t know about its legs. We only saw the one, but there might have been more by the river.