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Sunset Beach, NC, Nesting Area

Jo O'Keefe Copyright 2013. Photos may be used for educational purposes only. Contact me with inquiries.

American Oystercatchers, Wilson's Plovers and Least Terns nested in this area in 2013. Although two pairs of Black Skimmers joined the colony on June 17th, no nests or hatchlings were seen. All four species of birds are North Carolina Special Concern Species.

These photos are to show you deep foot prints in damp sand. First American Oystercatcher, possibly sitting on what it thinks is a nest. It could be. It seemed like a foot print to me. In the left photo she was standing up to scratch an itch. Sunset Beach, NC, 05/27/13
If you could see further back in the left photo, you would see Jenks/Jinks Creek. This moment is when the second bird walked up to the first bird. It then sat down and the first bird walked away. I looked to see if where it went had a nest and did not see one. Sunset Beach, NC, 05/27/13

 

Second bird minding the "nest," Sunset Beach, NC, 05/27/13
Wilson's Plover, Sunset Beach, NC, 05/27/13
Least Terns back on the ground when I was distant. Sunset Beach, NC, 05/27/13
Photo of an egg that shows the entire "nest," a small indentation in the sand. This is why the area needs protection from beach walkers. Sunset Beach, NC, 05/27/13
The Wilson's Plover nesting area and the left edge of the Least Tern nesting area. The terns are nesting between the sea grass and the dead brown reeds. The egg is this side of the left peak that has little if any green growth. It is down in the lower area. There is a slight dune covered by reeds on the oceanside of it. The American Oystercatchers are down and to the left of the third to the left "peak." The creek is in front of us in this view and the ocean is behind us. The wide tire tracks could be from the beach patrol ATV or the turtle patrol, Sunset Beach, NC, 05/27/13
 
   
Wilson's Plovers heading toward tide pool away from nesting area, Sunset Beach, NC, 06/17/13
Wilson's Plover watching chick in drying-up tide pool, Sunset Beach, NC, 06/17/13
Wilson's Plover chick and parent, Sunset Beach, NC, 06/17/13
Wilson's Plover chick, Sunset Beach, NC, 06/17/13
Two Least Terns on Nests, Sunset Beach, NC, 06/17/13
Wilson's Plover chick at edge of surf, Sunset Beach, NC, 06/18/13
   
This is immediately after the Wilson's Plover chick saw me and began running uphill toward the nesting area, Sunset Beach, NC, 06/18/13
Wilson's Plovers heading down from their nesting area to the high tide line to forage, Sunset Beach, NC, 06/18/13
Wilson's Plovers foraging amidst dried sargassum from a storm nearly two weeks earlier. Note the perfect camouflage. Sunset Beach, NC, 06/18/13
About 10 percent of the Least Tern nesting area, Sunset Beach, NC, 06/21/13
Least Terns, Sunset Beach, NC, 06/21/13
 
Least Tern Chick and Parent, Sunset Beach, NC, 06/21/13
There are at least seven adult Least Terns in this photo. Can you see them? Sunset Beach, NC, 06/25/13
Black Skimmers, newest species to join the colony, first nesting pair, Sunset Beach, NC, 06/30/13
Black Skimmers, second nesting pair, Sunset Beach, NC, 06/30/13 -- note fish
 

An older Least Tern chick in its first plumage in the left photo and a younger one in down in the right photo. Thanks to Sara Schweitzer, Wildlife Resources Commission, for identification. Sunset Beach, NC, 06/21/13 and 06/30/13

 
Least Tern adults and chicks, Sunset Beach, NC, 07/01/13
 
Least Tern adult and chicks, Sunset Beach, NC, 07/08/13
Wilson's Plover Chick, Sunset Beach, NC, 07/09/13
Wilson's Plover chicks foraging at the ocean's edge, Sunset Beach, NC, 07/09/13