Saturday, June 29, 2013

Windy Thursday Night and Friday Bird Walk

Here are two short videos of two very new least tern chicks....not too steady on their feet yet....

and if the videos won't work for you, here is a picture of NEW chicks

We were able to watch these least terns take a flight over the water!

and the common tern triplets were flying as well:)

and look carefully on the left to see an oystercatcher chick

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Flying Lessons in the Colony

Everywhere I looked this morning there was a chick trying to fly!

Skimmer chicks

Oystercatcher chick

Least tern chick

There is quite a difference from the "teenage" and "baby" least tern chicks.

The skimmer chicks always make me laugh!

The oystercatcher chick and "Radar" show off their "jewelry".

And for those of you who haven't had a chance to get to the beach recently...
here is your "moment of Zen".....

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It Was A Dark and Stormy Day

I went out to the beach yesterday afternoon to check on the chicks and see how the high tide barrier was holding up.

 And it looked remarkably sturdy.

The oystercatcher chick (I only saw one) is almost as big as the parents.

The common tern chicks are BIGGER than their parents.

Some of the least tern chicks are starting to flap their wings.

The skimmer chicks are demanding.

Don't forget to look for the green herons on your way to and from the beach.
There seems to be a rookery near the parking strip.

 And then this cloud sent me to the car.

Newsworthy news

There is a great article in today's paper.
Here is a link

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Super Moon = Higher Than Usual Tides = Flooded Nesting Area = :(

With the "super moon" event this weekend the tides were higher than usual. This caused part of the nesting area to flood. Sadly some chicks and many eggs were lost Thursday and Friday nights. Saturday night Garold and I created a trenchlike barrier that helped divert some of the water. Crows, hungry ruddy turnstones, ghost crabs, gulls, unaware beach visitors and now high tides have taken a toll on our nests. And yet there are still lots of hatching/growing chicks to watch out on Masonboro Inlet!

 These two terns were sitting on their nests as the water creeped up.

One tern surrendered the nest with two eggs to the tide.

It was difficult to watch this tern watch her egg disappear into the water.

This is the photo that seems to sum up the despair of Friday night 
(and the inspiration for creating a barrier Saturday night).

Chicks by water's edge...some just watched and others played in the water.

As the tide receded Lindsay went into the flooded nesting area to access the damage.

Some ruddy turnstones showed up to see if tern eggs were on the evening menu.
The oystercatchers seemed to act as bouncers.

And on a much happier note.... the First Annual Chick Party was a great success. 
The moon was magnificent and a marsh hare paid us a visit.

Send more photos!

Here are some great photos/captions that John Sutton and Michelle Chase Frazier posted on the "Cape Fear Birding Group" Facebook page.

John Sutton
Aerial Combat - Common Terns


Michelle Chase Frazier

   Gorgeous American Oystercatcher at the colony!

 6/7 Tropical Storm Andrea moves in over the colony.

One of the Oystercatchers has been rigged with a geolocator dealio, and we respectfully refer to this bird (shown here) as Radar. Here's Radar with two out of three chicks, one of which is actually eating an oyster!

 think this was our first Least Tern chick sightings of the season - 
fuzzy and invisible all at once, you can really only see them when they move.

American Oystercatcher chick exploring the beach. 

See the cuteness! SEE IT.

 I loved these two siblings, enjoying their 18 inches of independence from their parent.

A parent with a fish must have been flying in - somehow these chicks know when their parent is on the way with food and start begging like this before the parent even arrives.

6/20 There are chicks everywhere. 
Just randomly point your binocs or scope at the colony, and you will see chicks. 

Chicks everywhere you look!

That fish in the chick's beak disappeared after one impressive gulp! 

Black Skimmer at the shoreline. The pairs take turns tending to the nest/cooling off in the water.

You don't see me. You don't see me. You don't see me.

Tripods and cameras and scopes, oh my! Impromptu Monday night party with fellow bird nerds 

Least Tern chick, starting to mature and show actual feathers instead of downy fluff. 
That stick was one of many used to mark nest sites - wonder if this chick came from this one? 

This is a Common Tern chick. These guys are burly! Although they are not here in the same large numbers as the Least Terns, they are definitely getting their fair share of the fish. 

During the Audubon Chick Party, Kat spotted a Least Tern with two chicks snuggled under her wings. When she alerted the crowd, every eye, camera, scope, smartphone, and pair of binoculars turned in one direction. So much glass pointing at this sweet little scene! 

High Tide+Supermoon=YOWZA! This is our usual (dry) path to the colony, 
and it's still one more day before the peak of the moon's effect. 

If you have any photos you would like to share, or observations from the your visit to the nesting colony at Masonboro Island please send them to me at