As everyone is hitting the bathrooms before heading home, I waited and saw that there was a Brown Booby in Nassau County. After an evening of tailgating, singing, and dancing-- could I commit to waking up early and getting to Nickerson Beach before they start charging for parking (before 8am)??
Well, apparently the answer is yes, I think some late night Sonic (yeah, they opened a Sonic at home!) Cheesy Poppers and Tots saved my day. Also, I forgot to delete an alarm for a weekend I worked so I got woken up at 6:30 AM, and I figured, when will it be my chance to ever see such a bird... So, off I went!
I arrived, as did many others, only to learn the booby perished. I saw it... wrapped up in a bag, to be handed over to whoever would analyze/necropsy (I assume). Not a super duper awesome start, plus it was so hazy, so visibility sucked. But, then things got better...
|I try to visit Nickerson Beach in the late spring/summer to see the baby shorebirds. The beach has a protected colony of nesting common terns, least terns, piping plovers, black skimmers, and these little babies belong to the American Oystercatcher.|
|While looking out to the ocean, a cloud of birds flew suddenly overhead. Black skimmers and common terns took to the air, reminding me of a scene I witnessed last summer. I figured that something similar was happening, a predator was in the area.|
|Flying off from the cloud, empty-taloned was a peregrine falcon. But what I enjoyed was this American Oystercatcher defiantly telling its unwelcome visitor off and giving chase.|
|This is the oystercatcher I know, eyeing me, wondering which way I am heading so that it can walk in the opposite direction.|
|I really like black skimmers, they remained in flight after the peregrine left the scene, flying as a group out over the sand, over the waves and then circling back.|
|Their long wings make flying effortless and this bird clearly belongs in the air, because on the ground they look so... well, you'll see.|
|In the waves close to shore a female surf scoter scooted by, parallel to the beach. A nice, unexpected sight.|
|A common tern fluffs out its feathers after standing up.|
|An American oystercatcher, presumably sitting on eggs?|
|But for as absurd as they look, I think they are so stinkin' cute!|
|A baby oystercatcher perched up on a lifeguard bench.|
|When at rest, these guys will sit on/next to anything they can find. I suppose some of the anthropomorphic features of the beach help with that. Not sure how well its working for its camouflage game...|
|My favorite part of this morning though had to be the plovers, the piping plovers made up for the unfortunate end of the Brown Booby. Because....|
|BEHBEHS!!!!!! Just do you understand how tiny this guy is-- the parent (above) is sparrow-sized... this guy is like 2-3 cotton balls running around on toothpicks.|
|Did my heart melt--- oh you freakin' bet it did.|
|Babies also use their parents for shelter. Both mom and dad raise the chicks.|
|Time to gather the troops!|
|*insert that quiey-we're-in-public, angry mom voice* "You get in here, RIGHT NOW."|
|Babies are hidden under their protective parent, giving everyone a bit of respite.|
|(this is when I began to quietly "squee" to myself....)|
|And then, its back to survival. And it was also time for me to go hang out with my dad and enjoy a nice breakfast out with him and my family.|