Catching Up With Those South Carolina Birds – Part 4

This past January to March, I had numerous sightings of wintering Loons along the South Carolina coastline, both far out in the distance Atlantic Ocean or up in the marshes around Murrell’s Inlet, and have shared some already.

Before departing the area, I got one more chance to watch a Red-throated Loon as he dived, stretched his wings, and basically just looked pretty in his winter plumage in the turquoise waters.

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Red-throated Loon in winter plumage.



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Red-throated Loon in winter plumage.


All was fine and dandy, the loon was diving and resurfacing, although I’m not sure if it was catching anything.  I never saw a catch in its mouth.

And then someone arrived to see what was going on.


Laughing Gull also watching the Red-throated Loon.


The Red-throated Loon was also watching the Laughing Gull.

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Red-throated Loon ‘eye-balling’ the Laughing Gull perched on a piling overhead.


Finally, the Laughing Gull dropped and swooped in for the steal while the Red-throated Loon quickly dove.  You can still see the darkness of the loon as he was diving down.  I’m not sure if the gull actually took something from the loon, or had grabbed something already floating in the water.

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Laughing Gull swooping in ‘for the steal’ while the Red-throated Loon is diving down below him.


The Red-throated Loon was not amused with the Laughing Gull and started swimming out of the inlet.

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Red-throated Loon


The pelicans and gulls are real smart on how to get an easy meal by stealing from the diving cormorants and loons at Murrell’s Inlet.


25 thoughts on “Catching Up With Those South Carolina Birds – Part 4

  1. It’s so nice to see the Loons! We have a species of Loon here too but it’s nearly impossible to get close to them, but hearing them is great too!

  2. Lovely little story Donna & beautifully illustrated. We don’t have Loons but they look similar to our Australian Darter. It is usually our Pelican that steals from our Cormorants, interesting that the gull does. Does the laughter full actually laugh like our Laughing Kookaburra? Have a wonderful week!😊

  3. Interesting that the gull was waiting to steal, and that you said Pelicans do the same thing. I have seen gulls trying to steal food from pelicans, so I guess ‘turnabout is fair play!. Great pictures!

  4. Gorgeous images of the loon, especially with that captivating color of the water. I can’t say I’ve ever been really pleased with birds who steal from other birds though.

    • Thanks Gunta! I thought the turquoise waters really added to the loveliness of the loon too and was why I had to still share these after it’s been a couple months. Now, they should be quite beautifully in their breeding plumage!

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