I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hot Days and Baby Birds

July! The temperature is creeping up to one hundred degrees this week, even here at the beach. I timed my swim and beach walk towards late afternoon to avoid the sun and heat....Sure, it is cooler near the water but it's a long Sahara-like (only steam-y) hike to the shore over the dunes and down to the water.

The holiday crowds are gone and the shorebirds have retaken the wrackline and beach edge. And tonight they were bringing out their babies, what a thrill for me who has watched over the nests since March.

Besides the cuteness factor and the sort-of stunned wonder that newborn wild creatures elicit from many of us humans, I am happy that these endangered species whose nesting areas take over approximately 70% of our high tide beach have produced viable nests and healthy chicks.
The piping plovers are cute---and fearless!

The newborn chicks look like fuzzy white golfballs on pipecleaner stilt legs. And they are fast! The chick is runnng off the photo to the left/below, mommy in pursuit!

There is a mama and a baby in this picture too (below), hard to see, because the baby is so camouflaged. The baby is the white spot diagonally down and to the left of the adult, see his pink feet and neck ring? [use zoom?]

My favorite: American Oystercatchers....

The various groups have different aged babies....[note the big arctic tern baby top right, all grey w/ white chest!]

I say "groups" because there are often threesomes of adults with two or three chicks---a mystery, though some bird experts say one adult male may have two females in his group. But I never see two nests, always the threesomes and one set of babies,

And then there are the terns (arctic and least) and black skimmers, all of which agressively defend their nesting sites. There is an adult oystercatcher in the lower right corner, so you can see the difference despite their similar coloring....

These are baby skimmers....

The photos are fuzzy because they were taken from a great distance. This is an arctic tern chick, below. They are big and fluffy and awkward, very unlike sleek smaller- appearing adults.

Terns are especially nasty, divebombing within inches and dropping globs of white poop on the unwary. (Yeah, one got me! Yuck!). This is an angry skimmer, it chased me too!

So on the hottest day of the summer, the birds brought "the kids" to the Beach! What do you like to do on the hottest day of the year?

 Me, I am thinking icecream floats...and a picnic?



                        ...gone to the beach

 note:all photos were taken by lizzyd/ robin/ gone to the beach EXCEPT the large closeup of the p.plover chick which is from an unknown source [thank you!]. enjoy.