Sunday, May 24, 2015

Snowy Plover season

The Snowy Plover are doing ok this season - more nests have been successful than perished. One little family now has 27 days old chicks and a new family has a couple 2 days old chicks.
When the heat rises - a bit of shade can do a lot of good.

The new chick on the block - 2 days old.

The female is keeping a close watch on her brood.

So much to see and so much energy.

They are quite agile on their feet and fast too.

The older chicks from another family.

In the meantime the families were crossing boundaries and that didn't fly very far - they fought to regain territory.

The little ones are watching - they too will have to employ this technique when they get older.

These chicks are definitely high on my 'cute' list.

Green Heron family

I visited the Bailey Tract this morning and was entertained by a pair of Killdeer (see post below), in addition I ended up watching a family of Green Herons along the Airplane canal. There are 3 immatures - they are fully grown size wise but are still sporting downy feathers and are relying on the parent to be fed. They were quite active jumping from one branch to another and fighting over who gets to eat first when mama shows up.
The lighting was quite a challenge - so I hope you can get passed the so so photos and enjoy the experience like I did.

All 3 immature Green Herons are in this frame.

I think this little guy might be the runt of the litter.

The little runt is on the left and I believe this might have been their nest on the right.

Well, it might be hot and buggy but the birding is great. Check my E-bird List for today.

Killdeer - a love interlude

Killdeer is a plover who was once known as a Chattering Plover and/or Noisy Plover because of the very vocal nature of this species.
Technically a shorebird, Killdeer are often found away from shores as well as near them, frequenting mudflats, gravel bars, gravel roads etc. The southern population are residents year-round, they like to do a great deal of socializing, calling and foraging and today they were mating.
It was quite early when I spotted this fellow which was soon joined by another. I was mesmerized when I realized that courtship was taking place.

The male hopped onto the female's back, assuming a half-crouched position.

His feet seem to slide down gradually between female's drooping wings and her body.

The female rhythmically pumps her tail and body against those of male, eventually bringing dorsal surface of her tail and body against ventral surface of male's tail and body.

The male then slips off the side of female, twisting his tail and fluttering briefly to bring his cloaca into momentary contact with her cloaca.

It is said that pairs often copulate 2 times in succession which would explain the length of time that they took to seal the deal.

Killdeer are monogamous and copulate regularly during incubation. Some pairs remain together and defend their territory year around.

The pair parted and soon left the area silently.

What a treat to be a witness to such a loving moment!

 Information about mating was gathered from - if you are a member of e-bird you can subscribe to this fantastic website for 25.00/year - each species described in lengthy details - a priceless investment.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Bowditch Point and CWA in Ft.Myers Beach

It had been a while since I visited Ft.Myers Beach and the nesting birds at CWA - so, Elaine and I took a drive down and visited with our beach feathered friends.
It was a really nice surprise to find some Red Knots still in our area and some had their full breeding suits on.

2 of those Red Knots are younger birds - amazing to see the difference isn't it?

The white morph of the Reddish Egret was present and treated us to a nice show.

What a treat to find a couple of Eastern Kingbirds on the beach!

We caught sight of this Little Blue Heron with it's catch.

A Wilson Plover was chilling.

More looks of the Red Knots - some with a Willet too.

The dark morph of the Reddish Egret

seen here with a bonus capture of a Ruddy Turnstone.

This Reddish Egret seem to be sporting either fishing line or ?? - no bands were on his legs.

Then it was time for CWA. I hadn't been here in several months and had heard about this - the resident have claimed this portion of the beach their own and in the process limiting the amount of birds lounging around this little pond....

except for this Roseate Spoonbill - he didn't seem to mind being surrounded by all the bright colored flags....he probably felt at home with his bright plumage.

Nearby a pair of Least Tern chicks were spotted

and being called by their mama

time for some tender loving care.

The male parent was resting in between catching fish for the family.

A very precious Wilson Plover

A Ghost Crab - one of my least favorite creature.

A few Black Skimmers are nesting and if you look closely

you'll see that quite a few Least Terns are also nesting in the background.

I think we will have a lot of little ones in the very near future - it certainly will be worth another visit.