Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's been a while...

It's been a while since my last post, health issues have slowed me to a crawl for the past several months.
Feeling a tad better, I finally made it out on the boat today for the first time in almost two months.
 Though I spent most of my time scraping barnacles,
I did get some fine birding in at Cockenoe Island, Westport.
Before I made it to Cockenoe, I found these two Long-tail Ducks hanging out on Calf Pasture Island.
A few of these birds may hang out around the islands during the summer instead of migrating north to the arctic to breed. I often wonder, is this because they can't fly?
These are both males and appear to be in post alternate (breeding) plumage
Arriving at Cockenoe, I found about fifteen American Oystercatchers.
In this photo a juvenile is to the left and the adult is on the right.
Notice several difference between the two.
The color of the eyes, bill and back are not the same.The young bird is changing it's look fast and soon it will be the same coloration's as the adult.
In the islands back bay I couldn't miss all these egrets.
I counted 127 in this area, the camera missed a bunch on either side. Elsewhere on the island
I easily found another one hundred.
These are mostly all this years youngsters as there is a good size rookery here.
The majority of this flock are Great Egrets with a few dozen Snowy Egrets mixed in.
I didn't look up close, I'm sure there were other heron species here also.
The Sandspit.
US Fish and Wildlife took care of the fencing this year.
Judging by the hundreds of young Common Terns USFW did a great job protecting the colony.
I did not see any Least Terns out here today, they started nesting here in late May but did not succeed and move on.
Another view.
A few laughing gulls on the sandbar leading to the sand spit.
Note the three different plumage stages between the four gulls.
With ninety degree temps today, these six Common Tern hatchlings found the only shady spot on the sandspit.
Todays surprise was this Whimbrel mixed in with several Willet.
Whimbrels do show up as individual birds almost every year on Cockenoe in late July and August.
The calender say's we are almost into August, yet this female Osprey is still adding to her nest on one of the local lighted channel markers.
Her mate is perched above to the right and she has three chicks in the nest.
Those three chicks appear to be wondering " where's the fish, we can't eat any more of the darn sticks"
The third chick is way to the right, almost hidden.
I hope to be back soon.

Best to All!