Sunday, August 22, 2010
A few skipper pictures from our yard on Friday, 20 August. First, the ventral female Zabulon easily recognizable by the white HW edge. Middle: a Broadwing, our most numerous skipper; they have been around for some time. Finally, the Sachems are back--last year they stayed for about six weeks--this picture shows a ventral female with its well defined chevron on an olive-brown ground.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Here are three views of the Silver Sands trio of new fledglings on 9 August 2010. They were not found on the next day, August 10. One video shows the 3 Silver Sands siblings and a visitor--probably a nonbreeding adult; a still shot pictures one of the fledglings; a final brief video captures the fledgling as it flies away.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Spent the weekend at Rehoboth Beach, DE, and enjoyed birding Gordon Pond, at the southern side of Cape Henlopen State Park. A common nester there is the Blue Grosbeak, pictured here are first, the female; then the male. The first photo is a record shot of a Brown-headed Nuthatch, a bird that traveled around in a small flock (about a dozen) with Chickadees and a few fall warblers. Also, a short video of the male Blue Grosbeak singing.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Above, a Silver-spotted Skipper taken today, 9 Aug 10 at Myrtle Beach. Below is a bad video (ventral view) of a Little Yellow at Myrtle Beach (near Nettleton Creek), Milford, the beach that adjoins Silver Sands State Park. We first found the Little Yellow on 22 July 10, and we've seen them on most Piping Plover trips at Silver Sands since then in the same place. Today there were at least three of them, two often chasing each other in a circle. The video color distorts the bright yellow color and turns it greenish. We think the flower both the Silver-spotted Skipper and the Little Yellow are nectaring on is Spotted Knapweed--indeed all of the many butterflies in this location are feeding on Spotted Knapweed, a supposedly notorious invasive. (Cassia, one of its major foodplants, is common in the area.)
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Today, Sunday, 8 Aug 10, again we found the 3 Silver Sands Piping Plover fledglings at Fletcher's Creek outlet in Silver Sands State Park with no adults at all. Foraging with them again were Semipalmated Plovers. Also in the area were Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers. Here's a video of two of the Piping Plover fledglings, now 35 days old:
Here's a video of a juvenile Least Sandpiper as it forages at the edge of the Spartina just west of the breakwater near Fletcher's Creek; its rich coloring contrasts sharply with the gray-toned juvenile Semipalmated Sandpipers which are often nearby.
Friday, August 6, 2010
Today, 6 August 2010, we arrived at Fletcher's Creek outlet in Silver Sands State Park in Milford CT and 3 young Piping Plover flew in and joined about 10 Semipalmated Plovers and a single pale adult Piping Plover. We think the trio are the Silver Sands chicks finally fully fledged--a great sight. Now all of the chicks from Milford Harbor to Milford Point have fledged. The adult with them is very pale and indistinctly marked. In fact it looks much like the adult we saw last night (5 Aug) at Milford Point. We do not think this bird is the trio's mother--it lacks her heavily orange-yellow at the bill base, for one thing. It's possible that the pale adult (and the Milford Point 5 Aug bird) is a nonbreeding bird making its way south on migration. Also note the deep coloration and bold markings of some of the Semipalmated Plovers--still in alternate plumage. In the first video, the first Piping Plover is the adult.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
We went to do a Piping Plover survey near high tide (6:30 PM) on 5 Aug 10 at the Milford Point Spit. Too many shorebirds were congregating in the increasingly small space for us to go very far out without disturbing these migrating birds, so we decided not to proceed. (At the beginning of the spit we found a dead Semipalmated Sandpiper--it had what looked to be at least a few puncture wounds in the chest and side.) We found only a single, suspiciously passive, Piping Plover, which we at first took to be a fledgling, but on further reflection we realized it was an adult: it had a distinct neckband, a dark forehead band, and a definite touch of orange at the base of the bill. Also, its scapulars and coverts showed wear. Therefore this is an adult, and from the paleness of its markings and lack of much orange on its bill, probably a female. But it's also possible that this is a nonbreeding bird of either sex on its southward migration. Above is a photo and below video; we suspect that it was just tired and perhaps already on its migratory flight.
Here is a video of 3 of the 4 chicks at Silver Sands SP today: they were hanging out at the outlet of Fletcher's Creek. Did not see them fly. No adult around. We assume that 3 of the chicks are the Silver Sands trio and a 4th is a fledgling joining them at a good resting/feeding location, but we cannot be sure that these are not 4 chicks/fledglings we've never seen before. Also, 2 photos of the chicks/fledglings:
Today at Silver Sands State Park, there were 4 fledglings/chicks (could not tell which because they did not fly) at the stream/outlet for Fletcher's Creek. No adult female (no adult at all) around--perhaps she's left. Here's a video showing the four young Piping Plovers: see if you can tell if one of them is not part of the Silver sands trio:
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
The Silver Sands chicks are about 30 days old today, 3 Aug 10. They have moved to the relative safety and seclusion of the area near Fletcher's Creek outlet. One of the chicks flew about 30 feet today, staying about 3 feet off the ground. The female adult continues to tend them, chasing all intruders, including a Semipalmated Plover. Soon the chicks will be fully fledged; perhaps they will join the staging Piping Plovers at Milford Point where today there were at least 8 fledglings and 1 adult with many migrating shorebirds (esp Ruddy Turnstone and Semipalmated Plover). Of course the star of the day at Milford Point was the White-tailed Kite, discovered two days ago across the river in Stratford, who was sitting on a sandbar just off the spit much of the day.
Here are two videos of an adult Glossy Ibis feeding with a juvenile Glossy at Silver Sands State Park on 3 Aug 10. (The Ibis probably have come over from Charles Island, where they breed) Also with them in this waste-filled puddle are Snowy Egrets and a juvenile Clapper Rail.
While walking over the boardwalk from the parking lot to the beach at Silver Sands on our way to the Piping Plovers (3 chicks and mom fine near Fletcher's Creek), we watched an adult Glossy Ibis with a juvenile, four Snowy Egret, and a juvenile Clapper Rail feeding in a puddle about 15 feet off of the boardwalk. Here are a few photos of the Ibis (note the color and size differences between the ad and juv):