South of Tonight

Sporadic murmurs and other pomegranates from a one-way street

Archive for the tag “Killdeer”

Friday Morning Journal

Sat in the front yard with Suzy enjoying the fine weather and beauty of the morning. Watched a Killdeer incubate her three eggs in the nest across the street. Listened to the crickets and barn swallows vocalizing their enjoyment of the moment. Rescued a honey bee from a very small spider. Observed the blossoms of our wild fennel. As Suzy looked on, escorted a young garter snake off the hot concrete driveway. Wondered if the adult I saw yesterday might be its parent. Then finished the morning an espresso and a little work on my hermit crab in colored pencil. Not a bad morning.

Morning activities

Handsome three foot garter snake

 

Future Killdeer family

 

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Overhead Chorus

And now the killdeer begin their “Overhead Chorus”.

Saw our first killdeer chick of the season.

It hatched while we were in Colorado. Now just keep the feral cats away. Last year we observed only two killdeer chicks. One was run over and the other disappeared. Think the feral cats munched most of the clutches of 2009. Had always seen several clutches each year until the cats appeared. Neutering feral cats may be an option for urban locales but in rural areas they need to be relocated or otherwise controlled. They are a bane to the native wildlife.

Today was an interesting day.

We watched a Forster’s Tern fishing in the clubhouse lake this morning. The seven Mallard ducklings are growing up quickly. We found a pipped Killdeer egg and infertile Killdeer and Cliff Swallow eggs on our afternoon walk. The white lavender is getting oh so close to blooming. Our California hibiscus are shooting towards the sky. The blue butterfly bushes are blooming. The sun finally came out to warm us. This evening Suzy and I watched a Cliff Swallow collect insects over the fourth green and head back home to its nest. Chicks perhaps? Yes, an intersting day.

Changes in Our Local Bird Life

This year our spring rainfall was near normal. That’s been good for the human urban dwellers and particularly the farmers but we’ve noticed a change in the activity of local bird life. This year there have been more robins and robin fledglings than normal. Over the past several weeks, we have seen the adults searching for food in the grass, returning to the nest to feed the young. The adult robins have become quite courageous, coming to within 15 feet of us. The chicks have fledged and have been following their parents on their food forays. Many of the young birds are now on their own.

Things appear to be different for the killdeer. The two previous springs were very dry, and by this time of year we would have seen two or three clutches of killdeer chicks. This year we have seen signs of killdeer nesting, egg laying and parent protective behavior but no chicks. I first thought it might be the wet spring causing the lack of chicks but that should not disrupt the nesting success of these plovers entirely. Then a possible answer occurred to me. We have noticed an increase in the number of feral cats in the area. This can prove very detrimental to the success of any ground nesting bird. I hope our community can tackle this situation soon and painlessly.


Clutch of four eggs found by Suzy and myself.

Last year, due to a bridge replacement, the cliff swallows lost their long time nesting location and relocated to the eaves of nearby homes. Please see 2 May posting for video. This year the majority of the birds have returned to the new bridge. Below they can be seen collecting mud for their nests on the sixth fairway during the spring of last year.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=4494109&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=0&show_portrait=0&color=ff9933&fullscreen=1
Swallows collecting mud 23 Apr 2008.

Also, we have seen fewer egrets and green herons at Watson Hollow this spring. Hopefully the wet fields have attracted these birds with a larger concentration of insects and small vertebrates than years past.

∆≈/∆±

Killdeer Discovery

On a very blustery day, Suzy and I discovered a killdeer nest while walking behind the fourth green on the golf course.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=5088690&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=0&show_portrait=0&color=ff9933&fullscreen=1
The sound of the strong Delta breeze.


Not too close Suzy.


Such pretty eggs.

Let’s hope they survive the grounds keepers and golfers.

∆≈/∆±

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