The Birds!
by Sarah Gillig -- September 6th, 2013

As outlined in an earlier post,  birds have not been an area of particular interest for me in the past. They mostly provided background noise and occasional annoyance. You haven’t woken up in the morning until you’ve woken up to the call of the male Great Black-backed Gull, as I frequently did at the Shoals Marine Lab (listen here, click on ‘laughlike outbursts’ and the sound I’m talking about kick in at around 0.08–now imagine that right outside your window at 5:15 AM every day!).

I’ve also been a little leery of large groups of birds together, ever since I saw Hitchcock’s The Birds about 14 years ago. Since it’s a classic film, I decided to watch it one afternoon when I was home alone. Bad idea.

The room I watched it in had only one window, and that had a nice thick curtain, but then about halfway through the film I got hungry and went to the kitchen to get a snack.  The kitchen had lovely large windows, six of them, and a glass door.  While I was getting my food, I kid you not, a bird flew into one of the windows. I watched the rest of the movie from behind the couch, and stayed there until my parents got home.

But on to happier bird sightings.  School has started for real, and we are going out into the field!  Last week we had a shorebird ecology field trip to Carrot Island. We identified a lot of birds (none of which took any interest in us, happily) and even, in the distance, some of the famous Outer Banks wild horses (too far away for me to get a picture, unfortunately).

I think my favorite bird currently is the Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis), because I can always identify it! They look a little like pterodactyls.

What’s your favorite bird?

Down the Beach
Great Egret with a lot of White Ibis

There were a ton of White Ibis--we counted 19!

Forsters Terns

We had a little trouble with some of the birds, because they're in between summer and winter plumage.

Great Egret

Tides for Friday, September 6th, 2013, Beaufort, NC

Low: 2:53 AM, 0.3 ft

High: 9:03 AM, 3.56 ft

Low: 3:09 PM, 0.29 ft

High: 9:18 PM, 3.54 ft

From NOAA Tides and Predictions


  1. Scott Winton
    Sep 9, 2013

    Hi Sara,

    Glad to see somebody else is interested in birds around here! If you’re interested in learning more about bird identification you might be interested in joining the nicholas school naturalists. I lead a lot of birding field trips for them.

    In picture 3 you’ve got Forster’s Terns and a Laughing Gull. =)

    I haven’t been out to Rachel Carson in a couple years, but it’s a excellent spot to see NC’s coastal birds! You might be interested to see my post: http://birdaholic.blogspot.com/2011/08/birding-rachel-carson-national.html



    • Sarah
      Sep 29, 2013

      Thanks Scott! Things have been so busy that I haven’t had much opportunity to look into non-academic activities, but I will check the Nic Nats out!

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