Friday, July 3, 2020

They Grow Up So Fast...

     Birders know that migration is long over, but now is the time to see the next generation. Birds migrate northward to breed, raise their young, and take advantage of the surge of food available to feed and nourish their brood before all those who survived another trip north head back to wintering grounds. This southward, fall migration begins as early as August with Shorebirds making their way south from the high north.
     So I did not expect to see anything more than the regulars on an hour walk in Prospect with baby girl. Thankfully, the mosquito bites were zero for us (yay!) and we were hoping to see some young birds. And so we did! A lovely little morning walk that I greatly enjoyed, Kestrel girl even stayed more awake for parts of our walk, she only gets more interactive with the world around her by the day! Quietly glaring at the world above her as she lays out in a bassinet, so she gets the best view of the treetops, if 8 week old babies can even see that far, she certainly sees the light breaking between the leaves, contrast in the tree and shrub layers that shaded us along much of our Lullwater walk. All I know, is for warbler season, next year, please roll me around, laid out in a bassinet to avoid all instances of warbler neck! It is the sure fire way to go!

Anyway, here are some of the feathered (and non-feathered) friends we saw today:
Shortly after coming in to the park, along Well House Drive, a street light arch had three barn swallows perched upon it. The were young birds, seemingly being coaxed out into the world by their parents. As other swallows flew and swooped nearby,
This was a delight.

And then it got better, before going over the bridge, 6 more young swallows perched along a line. The adults swooping and the young birds practicing flight off the line and back again. As adults came by the young birds vocalized and begged for food. Some even got a feeding.

A little beggar yelling for... something. Notice how bright the edges of the beak and inside of the mouth are...

One of the easy ways to tell these are young birds, aside from behavior is also the appearance of the gape (their open mouth), the yellow border around their mouths. Young birds, cared for by their parents, often have brightly colored mouths and bills, almost like a bulls eye for parents to put the food in the right place!

This little buddy disrupted the swallow party.

This is another fledgling, an American Robin. That spotted belly is starting to molt away into that iconic red chest and belly.

This was some interesting behavior to observe. A black-crowned night heron wiggling its upper and lower mandible in the water for around a minute or so... was it clearing away duckweed to get a better view, was it feeling for potential prey, was it trying to attract prey to it with little vibrations in the water? I don't know, but it was something I have never seen before!

I always love a great egret in flight.

And one last thing to enjoy before growling stomachs and dirty diapers summoned us, a native painted turtle, under an old leaf.

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