Monday, June 26, 2017

One Step Back, Two Steps Forward

photo by Elaine Perkinson

Can you find the chick taking shelter in the shade of the vegetation?
photo by Elaine Perkinson
The rain has been difficult for our birds this year and a large number of the Least Terns have re-nested.  We just had more Least Terns hatch in the last couple of days and they are in the group facing the inlet side... away from the point.  You may see Robert Snowden on that side of the posting observing them as a part of his UNCW Graduate study.  If you are unsure where to look to see a chick, just follow a Least Tern returning to the colony with a fish.  This parent will lead you right to their nest and you will be able to watch them feed their chicks.

The early nesters that were successful have fledglings that are visible and we have seen a high count of 12 fledglings so far.  


photo by Elaine Perkinson

photo by Elaine Perkinson
photo by Elaine Perkinson

photo by Elaine Perkinson

Black skimmers continue to mate, incubate, many eggs have hatched and there are many chicks.  We currently have 167 nests, i.e., 167 pairs and at least 334 Black Skimmers!  Many of the chicks can be seen under the parents in the nest scrape with a scope...which is so adorable.  Several chicks are now visible walking close to the parents outside the scrapes.

We now have 14 Common Tern nests and some chicks have been spotted and are good size.  

One pair of Oystercatchers has re-nested closer to the nesting colony instead of behind the large dunes.  I am hopeful that they will be successful.  The pair is facing the ocean side and visible outside the posting!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Common Tern Chicks Seen in Colony

It's official!  Common Term chicks were seen in the colony this morning. Thanks to Bird Steward Jackie Linder for her careful observations this morning and for capturing these images of our first Common Tern chicks of the season. Now that the Common Terns have chicks beware!  Common Terns often sit on the postings ready to dive-bomb anyone they perceive as a threat to their young.



Monday, June 12, 2017

Spend a Morning on the Beach!

If you need some "feel good moments" in your day, head for the south end of Wrightsville Beach. Black Skimmer chicks abound, Least Tern chicks are already learning to fly, and the suspense continues to build as we wait to see when American Oystercatcher and Common Tern chicks will appear.

Look closely to find FOUR Black Skimmer chicks in this photo!

This chick is trying to devour a snack as big as he is!

This Common Tern is sitting on a nest right behind a Black Skimmer with her chicks.  We are still waiting to see the Common Tern chicks running around the beach.

This Least Tern chick already has some feathers and was seen taking a first short flight across the beach.

There are many American Oystercatchers on the beach but no sign of chicks YET!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Least Terns and Black Skimmers, June 9

If you haven't had a chance to get out to the south end of Wrightsville Beach to see the new Least Tern and Black Skimmer chicks, here are some great photos from bird Stewards Jackie and Eric White. The last three photos show that some of the Least Tern chicks are already beginning to lose that baby chick down and are becoming fledglings with feathers that will soon help them start flying on their own.

Least Terns

Black Skimmers

Beach Update, June 8

Thanks to our new Bird Steward, Jackie Lindner, for these photos and commentary...

The Least Tern chicks continue to grow and are running EVERYWHERE.  Most precocious but need to get on with the business of surviving.  Parents are still very vigilant and provide lots of little fish for nourishment.  The chicks seem to have some survival instincts in that they frequently run for the small clumps of grasses available for both shade from the heat and protection from some predators.  It still amazes me how very well camouflaged they are.  Until you get used to seeing them, they’re almost invisible on the sand.  Eggs are extremely difficult to spot.

The third photo is one of the ground predators - the dreaded ghost crab.  This is what is called a mobbing for the adults trying to discourage him from grabbing one of the chicks and pulling it down in his hole.  There are LOTS of them on the beach and many inside the posted area.  I like this photo because it gives you a good idea of how big they are in comparison to the adult birds so you can imagine how vulnerable the chicks are to this villain.

The little guy in the next photo seems to be wanting to get on with flying lessons.  He must have been one of the early hatchlings as he’s a bit bigger than some of the other chicks and ready to stretch his or her (tiny) wings.

The last photo is just another example of my fascination with the dedication of the pairs.  You frequently see one of the adults with a little silver fish in it’s beak trying to feed either a mate or a chick.  

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

And Now We Have Skimmer Chicks!

Black Skimmer chicks have arrived and are ready to entertain anyone who comes to the south end of Wrightsville Beach.  Here are our first pictures of these comical creatures....

photo by Jin Bain

photo by Jin Bain

photo by John King

photo by John King