The lead story in last week's Lumina News was an extrememly well written recap of our nesting season. The article compares the 2013 nesting season with this year's and includes a reminder that just because the nesting season is coming to a close doesn't mean there are no birds to enjoy. Sandpipers, plovers, terns, and skimmers (and others) have already started to arrive at nearby inlets. They will be here en masse in September with peak numbers in late October or early November.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Friday, August 8, 2014
This morning the bird stewards outnumbered the guests! But we were able to watch a large colony of black skimmers and their LARGE chicks on the beach. All of this week's photos were taken by LAURA SCULLIN!
Posted by Kathy Hannah at 4:49 PM
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Although the focus of the Wrightsville Beach Bird Stewards is the nesting colonies of local shorebirds, there are lots of other surprises to enjoy.
Green Herons Congregate at InletOne evening I observed over a dozen green herons flying around at the end of the parking lot. They seemed to be everywhere!
|one of two green heron chicks in parking lot nest|
Green heron chick ( photo by Michelle Frazier)
|The trees seemed to be filled with a convention of green herons.|
Sunsets at Masonboro Inlet
If you've never been to Masonboro Inlet when the sun is setting, it's time to go!
Posted by Kathy Hannah at 9:28 AM
(update from Marlene)...
SOUTH WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH….
As you are aware, the Black Skimmers seem to prefer the ocean side of the colony now. We are not sure why that location is more desirable, but one theory is that there is no vegetation to hide predators and the sand is softer and makes it easier to make scrapes for roosting. Just a guess!
Speaking of predators, several bird stewards have observed the remains of several chicks that appear to have been predated by a Great Horned Owl.
There were three Black Skimmers incubating eggs last week but it appears that crows that were observed harassing them on Thursday may have forced the parents to abandon their nests. It was challenging for the black skimmers who were incubating eggs because they were alone on their nests in the highway area. The other skimmers that could potentially make an appropriate “mob” against the crows were on the ocean side and not close by to help.
After an official bird survey of the south end on Tuesday (7/29) between 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM a total of 327 adult Black Skimmers and 66 fledglings were recorded at the colony.
Sixty six fledglings is considered good productivity for 101 nests. We were able to band 33 of the black skimmer chicks over the last couple of weeks. The parents keep those chicks well hidden!
|Adult Black Skimmer posing for our blog.|
|Someone said I have to fly to Central America in a few weeks, |
so I'm resting while I can.
|This quartet seems ready to break into song!|
|Black Skimmer colony on the ocean side|
|"How to Skim" lesson for skimmer fledgling|
|adult and fledgling skimmer at shoreline|
|This fledgling has got it!!!!|
|What are you looking at?|
It appears that CKK and parents are doing very well and leaving the colony regularly for feeding.
CKN aka “Kent” and parents are seen regularly at ocean side with the flock of Black Skimmers and at the shoreline. Kent was spotted flying a short distance a few days ago.
Marlene saw a Common Tern chick yesterday just in front of the dunes on the ocean side. The parents are vigilant in keeping people away from it. It is still brown and downy…and cute! It appears to be hanging out with two young Black Skimmer chicks… Look for the Common Tern parents that are roosting on the posting.
|Common Tern fledglings are flying everywhere!|
FISHING LINE & GEAR
When you are at the colony, please look out for fishing line and fishing gear which can entangle one of our birds or chicks and cause major harm. Several stewards have reported finding fishing line…and it seems to be happening every day.
The bird stewards look at the chicks and adult birds throughout the colony and check their legs for possible fishing line. Would you please help with this effort? If you see a bird entangled in fishing line and not able to fly, please notify a bird steward so they can get help to untangle the bird.
BIRD STEWARD BLOG AND BIRD WALKS….
Remember to tell your friends, neighbors and family about our blog and Friday morning Bird Walks. If your friends want to know what you have been doing all summer, invite them to the Bird Walk!!
Every FRIDAY MORNING @ 9 AM AT BEACH ACCESS 43. JUST MEET IN THE GAZEBO!
Posted by Kathy Hannah at 9:17 AM
Sunday, July 20, 2014
LOTS of skimmers have been hanging out on the ocean side of Masonboro Inlet and the fledgling chicks have been busy learning to skim along the beach.
Last week we had two brand new common tern chicks on the sound side of the inlet. It must have been a busy week of feeding because the chick has almost doubled in size.
Early Sunday morning I took a walk on the north end of Wrightsville Beach... and what to my wondering eyes should appear......
|Skimmers gather on the beach |
(photo by Laura Scullin)
|Skimmers outside the posting, enjoying the beach|
(photo by Laura Scullin)
|Adults are still bringing in fish for their chicks.|
|Skimmer chicks flapping their wings|
|a hop, skip, and a jump = almost flying!|
|It was fun watching the chicks chowing down among the adults.|
|seemingly insatiable appetites|
|Around sunset the dozens of adults were flying in from the sound.|
|good comparison of chick and adult Black Skimmer|
|on the right a skimmer chick is practicing skimming|
|This chick is still too young to fly.|
|The chick hangs out in the shade of the dunes on a hot day.|
|The adult common tern chick is still quite vigilant.|
|a family portrait|
|common tern chick posing for a picture|
and Royal Terns (with one Sandwich Tern on the left)
These three Royal Terns would have posed for hours!
Posted by Kathy Hannah at 9:12 AM