Alice had a duplicate bridge tournament in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and I went along to do some wildlife photography. I only had one target bird species for this trip - Harlequin Duck. This has been one of my nemesis species that I have been trying to see for the past decade. One had been reported on eBird on multiple days at the nearby Huntington Beach State Park between December 4 and 18, and I was hoping to finally get this life bird. Of course, there would be other neat birds to see in the area as well. We drove there on December 29, and had off and on drizzle to light rain the entire seven hour drive, and thunderstorms were forecasted for overnight and early the next morning.
We awoke to light drizzle and strong winds. An hour later, the drizzle had stopped, but the winds continued. The limited clear skies were replaced by heavy fog with rain still in the afternoon forecast. I decided to bird along the beach and streets near the Marriott where we were staying. I ended up with 24 avian species today, even with all the fog, and may have seen a Sharp-shinned Hawk, and possibly heard a Killdeer, but couldn't confirm these two species. I saw two long-necked swans flying in the fog, and assume that they were Tundra Swans.
Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls
An early trip highlight for me was seeing a couple of the southeastern subspecies of Eastern Towhee. Birds of this subspecies have white eyes instead of the usual red eyes seen elsewhere, and I hadn't seen any birds of this subspecies since 2009.
Click here to continue to birding on December 31