Thursday, July 11, 2019

UPDATE ON OUR BIRDS


OYSTERCATCHERS….Our chick was 6 weeks old on Sunday (7/7) and is banded EER.  On Sunday 7/7, we saw it take its first short flight, with its parent, landing right in the middle of the Least Terns by the inlet.  The Least Terns were not happy and that little Oystercatcher chick went running out of there while being dive-bombed by the Least Terns. 
On Monday (7/8) we found evidence of a Razor Clam being opened and fed to the chick.  Watch for a parent coming in with a whole clam during low tide and opening it for the chick.

We have not seen CT4’s chick but have seen one of the parents bringing food from the Coast Guard station direction of the inlet over into the dunes.  A very positive sign!
BLACK SKIMMERS
We counted 42 Black Skimmer fledglings on Saturday 7/6.  Give it a try and see if you get a bigger number!  In addition, we counted 458 adult Black Skimmers.

Our team of  biologists banded 25 skimmer chicks prior to the rain on Monday night (7/8).  They are banded with one metal band and a black field readable band.  
Black Skimmers still are incubating eggs and we have some newly hatched chicks.  Zoom in on the dunes for downy chicks!!

LEAST TERNS
We want to challenge you to count Least Tern fledglings so we can get a “high count”.  We realize that these fledglings will be coming and going….moving around the colony…some practicing flying skills, etc. so numbers will vary.  We just like to see what the highest number is.  Count chicks with smooth feathers!


So far the high count is 48 Least Tern fledglings!  











COMMON TERNS
We counted 5 beautiful Common Tern fledglings generally by the water with a parent close by.  

We have another nest in front of the dune on the beach close to the Oystercatcher family.

A Photograph Speaks Volumes

Many talented photographers visit the nesting colony each day.  These photographs share some moments of what is happening at the south end of Wrightsville Beach. 

“ To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” 
                        ~Henri Cartier-Bresson

Photographs by Scott Mullens

























“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
                                       Ansel Adams


Photographs by Tom Hanna























"I thank You God for most this amazing day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky; and for which is natural which is infinite  is yes ."
                                     e.e. cummings


Photographs by Bill Segur



Tuesday, June 25, 2019

It Just Keeps Getting Better!

Black Skimmers –
We have the largest colony of Black Skimmers in the State of NC this year with 184 nests and lots of chicks to show people!
Chicks are hatching, feeding, running around and being shaded by parents throughout the day.  

Bold chicks are leaving the posting and heading to the water on their own. If you see a chick heading for the water on its own, allow it to get to the water to cool off and get a drink.  It would only make that move if it is critical.  Watch for the chicks and enjoy! 

CHICKS ARE OUTSIDE OF THE POSTING!!!
IT IS IMPORTANT TO BE AWARE THAT CHICKS ARE OUTSIDE OF THE FENCED AREA AND WE ALL NEED TO WATCH OUR STEP.  THE CHICKS HIDE IN FOOTPRINTS AND THE TIRE TRACKS. 


These pictures were taken on the beach this week.  All of these chicks are very much alive.  They freeze when they are scared and then can't be seen.  If you see this just carefully go up to the chick and gently touch it.  That should cause the chicks to run back into the posting.




Least Terns –We have various stages of nesting….birds incubating eggs, newly hatched adorable Least Tern chicks, and we counted 18 fledgling Least Tern chicks including some that are learning to fly!  The Least Tern parents are busy incubating eggs, fishing & feeding chicks and encouraging their older chicks to try new flying skills!   
Look how the Least Tern chicks are camouflaged in the sand. 
AND notice how chicks from the same parent can have different coloring! 
We still have 61 nests!  Nests are located on the ocean front, inlet side and the area in front of the Black Skimmers closer to the Coast Guard Station. 
American Oystercatchers – We have a total of three Oystercatcher pairs and have one chick currently on the beach.  The third pair with one banded CT4 made a brief appearance with a new chick on Thursday early morning (6/20) but we have not seen it since. 
photo by Tom Hanna

photo by Tom Hanna



















As you know, CKX & mate loss their chicks on June 3. This pair has left the south end.
The un-banded pair with their one chick have been bringing the chick to the water regularly and feeding at low tide.  We watched this chick get fed by both parents over 8 times the other day during falling and low tide.  This chick is now 4 weeks old as of Sunday, 6/23.  The parents generally spend time by the plants close to the dune, at the water’s edge and they accompany their chick behind the dunes.  

Common Terns – Common Terns were hatching and chicks have been spotted by stewards.  Common Tern chicks are good size now and the parents have been extremely intent on protecting their chicks and have been rather aggressive with beachgoers that they perceive as being too close!
We have 13 Common Tern nests with several still incubating eggs and several raising some sizeable chicks!

Our free weekly Monday morning Bird Walks have been well attended.  There is so much to see and we love sharing the action with everyone who can attend!

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Chicks! Chicks! Chicks!

Black Skimmers –
We have the largest colony of Black Skimmers in the State of NC this year with 184 nests and lots of chicks to show people!
Chicks are hatching, feeding, running around and being shaded by parents throughout the day.  We watched one parent bird running with chicks this morning back and forth in front of the dunes.  It was adorable!

(photo taken on phone through scope)
See if you can find at least six skimmer chicks in this picture!
The Black Skimmer chicks at the south end of Wrightsville Beach, NC entertained beach goers for hours this morning.

Least Terns – More Least Terns have appeared at the South End nesting area and we have new nests on the beach!  It appears that Least Terns that were nesting on the North End of Wrightsville Beach have had their nests fail from human disturbance and the coyote that has taken residence on the North End of the island.  We have various stages of nesting….birds incubating eggs, newly hatched adorable Least Tern chicks, and fledgling Least Tern chicks including some that are learning to fly!  The Least Tern parents are busy incubating eggs, fishing & feeding chicks and encouraging their older chicks to try new flying skills!   
We are now up to 61 nests!  Nests are located on the ocean front, inlet side and the area in front of the Black Skimmers closer to the Coast Guard Station. 



Least tern  warning a Black Skimmer that is too close to the tern eggs.
Look for the feet of the Skimmer chicks under the parent!



American Oystercatchers – We have a total of three Oystercatcher pairs and there is one chick currently on the beach.  The third pair with one banded CT4 is still incubating eggs in the dunes. 

As you know, CKX & mate loss their chicks on June 3. 
The un-banded pair with their one chick are located on the inlet side towards the Coast Guard Station and they have been bringing the chick to the water regularly.  This chick will be three weeks old on Sunday, 6/16.  They generally spend time by the plants close to the dune, at the water’s edge and they accompany their chick behind the dunes. The chick was seen this morning and is growing rapidly!

Common Terns – Common Terns were hatching and chicks have been spotted by stewards.  Common Tern chicks are good size now and the parents have been extremely intent on protecting their chicks and have been rather aggressive with beach goers that they perceive as being too close!
We have 13 Common Tern nests with several still incubating eggs and several raising some larger chicks!


photo by Marlene Eader

photo by Marlene Eader





Both of these Common Tern pictures were taken through a scope using a phone!

Sunday, June 9, 2019

The Black Skimmer Chicks are Everywhere!



More and more Black Skimmer chicks are appearing on the beach every day.  
Several nests have as many as three chicks.


































Friday, June 7, 2019

WE HAVE MORE CHICKS!

Black Skimmers – Chicks are hatching and are feeding and being shaded by parents throughout the day. 
We have the largest colony of Black Skimmers in the State of NC this year with 184 nests!!






Least Terns - The Least Tern chicks are adorable right now and are busy feeding and growing feathers!   We are now up to 44 nests!  Nests are located on the ocean front, sound side and the area in front of the Black Skimmers closer to the Coast Guard Station.  Many chicks are starting to run around and hopping... spreading their little stubby wings! 


























American Oystercatchers – We have a total of three Oystercatcher nests and have had four chicks on the beach.  Two families have made an appearance.

The un-banded pair with their one chick are located on the inlet side closest to the Coast Guard Station and have been bringing the chick to the water regularly.  They generally spend time by the water and they accompany their chick to the dunes.  

As of Monday, 6/3, the third Oystercatcher nest, belonging to CT4, is still incubating her eggs.



Common Terns – Common Terns were hatching and chicks have been spotted by stewards. As of Monday, 6/3, we have 13 Common Tern nests – that is 5 more than our last update!







Saturday, June 1, 2019

A Morning With an American Oystercatcher Family

It was a beautiful morning at the south end of Wrightsville Beach.  One of the American Oystercatcher families was out with their chicks.  These pictures tell a great story....

American Oystercatcher standing atop a dune.
Checking to see if the coast is clear to bring the chicks out to the beach.


Adult American Oystercatcher keeping a close lookout on the beach traffic.

It was a bit cooler and windy this morning.
This American Oystercatcher was sheltering the chicks underneath warm feathers.



In this video one of the parents has brought some food to the chicks.  Watch as the chicks chase each other all over the beach trying to see who gets breakfast!