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Scoters & Woodcocks

Hey Carolina Birders,

Although I don't recall having seen a report on it, Jack Peachey and Bob
Maxwell checked for birds from our local piers last Friday.  Jack had
mentioned having a male Long-tailed Duck from the Myrtle Beach State Park
Pier and at least one male Surf Scoter from the Apache Pier.

While I wasn't able to locate the Long-tailed Duck, I had all three scoters
from the Apache Pier on Saturday.  Phil Turner and I stopped back by there
yesterday and were easily able to locate them again.  They are hanging
around the end of the pier just off the south side.  Seventeen scoters were
seen on Saturday while only fourteen were found yesterday.  There was a
single White-winged Scoter on both days.  Four Black Scoters were seen on
Saturday but only three yesterday.  The rest were obviously Surf Scoters.
In general, the Black Scoters appear the be just a little further to the
south and east than do the others.  They were around 80-100 yds. away while
the White-winged and Surf Scoters remained at a distance of only 30-60 yds.

On an unrelated item, I took a walk just south of our home here in Myrtle
Beach last evening.  I heard the "peent" of an American Woodcock as darkness
was bringing my hike to a close.  Although the call was originally some
distance away, I tried to get closer without disturbing the bird(s). I soon
began to hear the "twittering" of wings and realized this was the display
that I'd long hoped to see.  From the strength of the call, I feel as though
I was able to get to within thirty yards or so of the bird while it was on
the ground.  Although I never was able to locate the bird against the dark
vegetation, I was able to pick it up once it became airborne against the
backdrop of the lighter sky.  It sounded as though there was only a single
bird displaying in this immediate area.  Even so, I did hear the twittering
of wings off in the distance on a couple of occasions as this bird was
continuing to call from the ground.  The display continued for twenty-five
minutes or so before I quietly headed for home.

After returning home I realized that I had encountered the same thing in the
same location at approximately the same time last year.  However, I had
simply heard the bird then and, needing to get home quickly, I thought
nothing of it.  In fact, I wasn't even certain it was a bird.  The good news
is that I may have finally stumbled upon a reliable spot to see the displays
of the American Woodcock.  The bad news is that the new six-lane Carolina
Bays Parkway will soon be running right through the middle of it.  Oh well,
so much for progress.

Good Birding,
Ritch Lilly
Myrtle Beach, SC