Wednesday 23 July 2014

Still only two Killdeer chicks

Annette had another morning out on the water looking for the lost Killdeer chicks, but sadly there were still just two. However Darlene Luckins' comment on the previous post about the female chicks sticking with mum and males sticking with dad in different locations is interesting and may just give us some hope that this is what has happened here since there are two chicks and only one adult.

Killdeer family; there is an adult and two chicks in this picture. Can you see them?
Photo: Annette Cunniffe.

Killdeer chick. Photo: Annette Cunniffe.
Annette tells us it was a beautiful morning on the water at 06:30 hrs, a lovely time of day at this time of year before the heat gets too much. She had occasion to talk to the caretaker about the Killdeer family and he told her of the plethora of predators that live in the area; fox, coyote and hawks are all living nearby and of course there are the gulls to contend with. 

Mother and daughter? Father and son? Or just two Killdeers?
Photo: Annette Cunniffe.

These are a real danger to young birds and the chances of all of the chicks surviving in the best of circumstances is unlikely, and lets face it, the predators have to eat too... right? Apparently last year there was a duck nest and not one survived to hatch in the same area which does not bode well however they do seem to be having a better year this year!

Duck family, at least some hatched this year.

At least Annette was able to console herself a little with some other species being in the area for her to look at and photograph, like this rather tame Least Sandpiper...

Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla. Photo: Annette Cunniffe.

this Spotted Sandpiper...

Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius. Photo: Annette Cunniffe.

and this handsome American Oystercatcher.

American Oystercatcher Haematopus palliatus; these birds appear each year but apparently never breed, at least successfully, the number of American Herring Larus smithsonianus and Great Black-backed Gulls Larus marinus on the small rock that they inhabit prevent this from ever happening it seems.
 Photo: Annette Cunniffe.

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