After a long summer seeing the same birds day after day - Green Backed Herons, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Tri-colored Herons and a few others - it's really fun to have new faces fly into the territory. Last week I kept seeing this small black and white bird that looked a lot like a woodpecker, but certainly didn't act like one. This little guy was a definite fish eater and was really quick. He reminded me of a kingfisher, but the coloring seemed too dark - local kingfishers are blue. Well after a few more encounters where I saw the bird hoover & dive and finally heard him trill loudly, it was confirmed that the bird is indeed a Belted Kingfisher. He looks black and white to me, but must simply be a very dark blue because it displays classic kingfisher behavior. Kingfishers live in the Holden Beach area year round, but stay inland during the summer and come back to the coast during winter. This guy had just returned for the winter season.
Another great sighting was a Bald Eagle viewed on a tour about 2 weeks ago. It was only the second Bald Eagle I've ever seen and my first at Holden Beach. Bald Eagles live in this area during the summer (for breeding) so I may not see him again until next year. Other large birds of prey seen in the area are Osprey (summer resident) and Red Tailed Hawk (year round resident).