Great Egret Feeding on Menhaden in the Surf Zone

The Surf Zone

The surf zone is the waters just off the beach and the area where waves come ashore. Lots of birds and animals make their living in the surf zone.

Great Egret and Snowy Egret

Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets are wading birds with very long legs. They are frequently seen in the surf zone close to the beach.

Great Egrets in Flight

Snowy Egret Landing

Great Egrets are pure white and very tall. They have very long thin necks and very long yellow beaks. Snowy Egrets  are pure white birds with a thin, black beak, and a tuft of white feathers on their heads and bright yellow feet.

Great Blue Heron Feeding in the Surf Zone

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Herons as their name implies, are large blue-grey birds the size of great egrets. They have a long beak and a rust-colored neck.

Great Blue Heron in Flight

Smeagull Says,

"Get the Facts"

Some Great Blue Herons winter over in and around the refuge. All Great Egrets migrate, the last of them leaving in early November.

Willet Balanced on a Throne Tree

Willet in Flight


Willets are medium-sized shore birds. They walk along the surf line at the edge of the beach looking for small sea creatures to eat but you will find them perched almost anywhere. In flight, the feathers of their wings have a distinctive white and brown pattern.

Smeagull Says,

"Get the Facts"

The feathers of every bird have their own particular pattern. A bird’s feathers are called “plumage.”

Least Sandpiper

Least Sandpiper

Least Sandpipers are small birds that look for tiny invertebrates (animals without backbones) on which they feed between the rocks and along the shore.

Smeagull Says,

"Get the Facts"

Both Willets and Least Sandpipers are migratory. But in summer, least sandpipers go much further. They nest all the way north on the Arctic tundra.

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