Sunday, July 27, 2014

Birds and stuff

This morning the sky was gray, gray, gray but I ventured out anyway. Since yesterday the sea has been shouting. I tried to convince myself yesterday that I could hear it so much just because the wind had shifted. Well the wind did shift but the sea IS shouting too. That means too much turbulence for me to consider snorkeling. The normally very calm area at Kammer Beach where I snorkel most lately was more white than aqua today. I'd have been bobbing around like a cork in a bathtub with an energetic kid. But the moderate to strong breezes feel great and the rain is more off than on today. In fact the sun kept trying to push through.
Of course it can be worse when there is more 'serious' weather out to sea or nearby, as it was earlier this month when the same area looked more like this.

When the sea is rough it is fun to watch the waves break and spray at Taga Beach. 

But I'm usually bird watching in the morning anyway.
Today here was a Chunge’ (White tern) fledgling in the tree near the bandstand gripping on like it plans to never let go - with one then both parents supervising from anotherbranch – below and behind the little one.
Probably that’s the fledgling's landing perch from its first flight. These birds do not make nests and the young instinctively grasp onto a branch upon hatching and never let go until they fledge. How terrifying it must be to be goaded into letting go for the first time and launching oneself into open air. I imagine it is also instinctive to flap those wings and then a new perch must feel very reassuring.
An adult came squawking almost in my face – I guess it thought I was too close to its wee one.
The White-Throated Ground Doves (who are rarely seen on the ground) have a nest in another tree at the Fiesta Grounds. It has been tended by the Apaka(m) most of the time I've been there recently but today the Fachi(f) was there as well and it was being tended by both parents. And both were pretty busy, changing positions and poking down into the nest frequently. I suspect there is a hatchling or two there and they are getting restless. I’m just guessing but usually the sitting parent is almost like a statue.

One picture, though not clear enough to be sure, seems to show a tiny head in front of the Apaka's white chest. Of course it could just be one or a clump of those little ironwood 'pine' cones but it is more fun to think it 'might' be a hatchling.  

On the way back home, going along the beach I was surprised to see we might have a Kammer ‘Ness’ monster.
But on closer examination it seemed to be a much less exciting branch bobbing around in the water. Ah well, what’s an imagination for anyway!


Ian Young said...

Beautiful photos. I hope that is a Dove hatchling!
I had a very good day looking at Common Terns at a small former dock called Canada Water. This is the best year I've ever known for breeding terns, and there must have been around 30 birds, a mixture of adults, fledged young and little brown chicks. They are very noisy birds!

I was interested to see your pictures. I think White and Common Terns must be quite different in their breeding habits as 'my' terns don't visit trees. They naturally nest on shingle beaches but have also have taken to shingle covered rafts provided for them in nature reserves. But they are similarly protective of their young; in your case, the mother swooped at you, whereas I saw an adult angrily chase off a much bigger Herring Gull.

heyjude said...

Thanks Ian. I've also seen the Chunge' chase off all sorts of birds and swoop screeching toward dogs.

Ian Young said...

That's brave of them! Mute Swans sometimes threaten dogs, but swans are very large birds.

I've seen a group of Eurasian Magpies repeatedly swoop at a cat (not mine!)

heyjude said...

Well I've never seen them swoop in so close that the dog could reach them. They also hover and shriek (as with me) and I've read but not observed that they try to defecate on the offender - so I try not to let them hover directly over me.