Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Nesting Bird Bonanza!

The doves were really out to please at the Fiesta grounds today. Yesterday I saw a pair of Mariana Fruit Doves and thought they might have or be creating a 'nest'. - Today I just looked upward to search out the Fruit dove I saw yesterday when the male flew right over to her – if I’m right about who is which (the coloring of males and females is either the same or too similar for me to tell). That saved me from having to search to spot her. He didn’t stay long but as far as I was concerned he’d done me a nice favor. A couple of days ago I spotted a male White-throated Ground Dove. Watching it I soon decided it was in attendance of a female on a nest. The nest is just was very loosely knit assemblage of long ironwood needles. But yesterday I could not find that nest anywhere. I figured they had just been ‘house hunting’ and opted for a different neighborhood. While watching the Mariana Fruit Dove I hadn’t much hope of sighting the White-throated Ground Dove but “Lo and Behold!” A male flew over and perched close enough to the Fruit dove that I got off a shot including them both. He then began flying back and forth between two other trees and that me helped locate their nest. It is a tree away from where I thought I saw it the other day. So either I was looking in the wrong tree yesterday or what I really think is they chose a different spot. Unlike the Fruit dove male this one makes many quick trips to the nest and away. And in each tree he’d walk, hop or flutter from branch to branch. - Gradually he would approach the nest and briefly join her there. While the White-throated nest is merely a large mass of loosely assembled needles it does keep them much better hidden from the ground – thus from the camera. I could detect her head or tail at times. And when he’d join her, I could get an occasional shot of him at the nest. He just never hangs around for long though. - The ‘nest’ for the Fruit dove if it can be called that is only a small collection of ironwood needles. She stayed close to the 'nest' today but did do some moving around. - - Now the really great news is that I can watch both nests from each of a couple of different spots. So I don’t always have to fear missing a visit at one when watching the other. Some of the best shots are from other spots but when nothing is happening I can position myself at the ready for either nest. This is an an exciting opportunity as being shy this is about the only time one can observe then. Both birds are striking with the Fruit dove being out most colorful bird. - This truly was a Bonanza Nesting Bird Day. Two rather shy species to watch at once!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Another birding walk

Walk began with a male White-throated Ground-dove in the tree at my building. That’s the first time I’ve seen one here but he is very identifiable by his white head and chest.
As he flew off I spied an all chocolate brown female much further from me and only got in one quick shot before she'd followed him.
Next there were a bunch of chickens in the first field, not in good photo range. At the Fiesta grounds the Mom & Babe Fruit dove were together but the Mom soon left.
I’m intrigued by the differences between this chick and the earlier one. This one does not huddle in a ball when alone but peers around and moves about. And it doesn’t just snuggle up to the Mom when she is there - a very daring little tyke. It also is growing very rapidly. I think it is about twice the size it was a few days ago but still is only about half or less of the size the other one was when we first discovered it.
As I moved on into the Fiesta grounds a bunch of White Terns provided some Kodak moments – most of which I missed as they dart about so quickly. One pair paused long enough though!
Then a flash of red caught my eye as an Egigi (Micronesian Honeyeater) landed about three feet from me. It moved on before I could get the camera focused on it but only about a couple of yards. It allowed me one shot there and another in tree branches above before departing for territories afar. The amount and brightness of the red on this bird marks it as a male, the females have less and it is more of a brick red.
On my way home a Kingfisher called out. Though it liked to hide in the shadows I did get one not so great shot of it.
At the Plover fields a lone Plover held a staring contest with me until it decided I wasn’t worth the bother. When I tried to approach closer it flew off a few yards and from it’s new spot seemed to studiously ignore me. Ithink their eyes have a greater range of vision than ours so it likely was still keeping me under close scrutiny.
Another in the other field was amazingly close to the road but by the time I got to that side of the road it decided to go join its pal in the other field.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Tinian Walk

Walk began quite unremarkably today. No Plovers, no turtles, no changes with the stonefaces, nothing of interest until I got down to Fiesta Grounds. The Marians Fruit Dove I've been watching there now has a chick.
When I got there today the babe was there alone. Though I hung around quite a while I never saw the Mom. This seems to be a very brave little chick as it changes its location – maybe only a few inches at a time but that’s more than the previous one did when alone.
In the fenced area beyond the Fiesta grounds a work crew with a bucket truck was trimming a lot of branches off the trees in there. I got one really neat picture. The bucket up among the tree branches blends into the sky background so well it looks like the man is hanging there in midair.
I hung around for some time to see if they were going to trim along the road and to speak up on behalf of the Fruit doves if so. But it became apparent that they’d be working where they were for quite some time more so I slowly headed back. Up by the baby bird’s tree I suddenly saw a White-throated ground dove fly into a nearby tree. They walk, hop and flutter from spot to spot so fast it is hard to photograph them but I always try. This time a female came along and they were having quite a romance – billing and cooing and darting toward and away from each other. I got a decent shot of the female. She is all a chocolaty brown while the male has a white head and chest. I got a fairly decent shot of the male with his wings aflutter, about to leave that branch for another.
After a short while a number of Donne Salis came along screeching, squawking, attacking and chased away the much larger pair. I was not so happy about that. When I arrived back at my building the 5 month was holding court for an uncle and the Grands. And of course that meant a few more Kodak moments!
Coming up the stairs I spotted an Egigi with just enough light on it for some almost good pictures.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A birding walk

I had a nice birding walk today. One Plover (Pacific Golden Plover) only in each of the fields were I usually see them. Each was showing signs of being less alarmed by me as long as I kept my distance. Though this bird carries the same name as the Plover that migrates non-stop over 5000 miles from Alaska to Hawaii summer there, the once here come in from Siberia. Their route is partly overland so their longest stretch is “only” 2300-2600 miles.
The difference in color for these two is a matter of the sun being on the first and behind the second. Leaving them behind I heard a bird calling and discovered a very photogenic juvenile Kingfisher on a palm frond. I suspect it will grow into its beak.
And big though its beak is it doesn’t begin to rival BigBill – A Plover with an excetionally long beak that I’ve only seen once.
At the Fiesta grounds, our favorite Mariana Fruit Dove was there when I arrived but after I roamed around the grounds a bit and was leaving, it was gone. It is showing pretty much full coloration now. (scroll down to the Mariana Fruit Dove entry 0n Dec 21, 2012 for other pictures of this bird as a chick with its parent)
Then I spotted and took a few shots of a young White Tern still showing some gray around the edges. The chicks are all gray and gradually turn to all white as they mature into adulthood. There were numerous terns soaring but not allowing any good shots.
An Egigi (Micronesian Honeyeater) perched in an ironwood tree and though it kept evading me by hopping from branch to branch I did get a couple of decent shots – one with its wings aflutter as it prepared to change location just as I clicked!
Sparrows (Eurasian tree Sparrow)were all around and never in one spot for long. I got a shot of one on the chain-link fence. They show themselves better in other settings though.
Since it seemed to be a ‘bird’ morning I took a picture of a juvenile Donne Sali from directly beneath it. The lightness of its’ throat and chest marks as a youth as the adults are solid black.
That’s seven of the eight species I frequently see along this same walk. The White-Throated Ground-Dove did not show itself today. I don’t even recall hearing it then though I have heard it a few times while writing this. It has never revealed itself in the growth behind my window though. It will just have to wait for another day.