Our backyard robins returned this year. Pam, remembering the “miss” they made on her roses, tore down the first bits of nest on our carriage light. They persisted and I implored her to “have a heart,” agreeing to look after their mess. Here she is in the second day, note how she shimmies to form the nest bowl.
Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved, Michael Stephen Wills
In the first video, the largest and strongest Robin chick, the first to fledge, is not quite ready. Maybe I am anthropomorphizing, this individual appears to exhibit the same emotions I feel when approaching a new physical experience, say learning to flip turn, swimming laps in later life. Listen carefully to hear the chick playing the carriage light crown like a bell.
I have a lot to learn about making video with this new camera. Color balance is improved in the second video.
Today, the morning after, this nest is not empty. I found the third chick standing, well grown, enjoying the benefits of parental attention. The nest was empty by afternoon, the territorial Robin parents were still terrorizing Blue Jays.
Special thanks to Pam for the heads up on the chicks and for ceding her prime kitchen window spot.
Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills
We watched the parents build this nest in stages from May to June, at times progress was so slow Pam and I thought the nest abandoned. It is a perfect location for them, safe from predators, sheltered by soffit, above, wall, behind. In front, carriage light crown.
Today the two of three chicks flew the nest. Here they are in the minutes before this big event.
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Our long beachcombing adventures are enlivened by wildlife. Grey Herons stalking the surf line, the interface between the Atlantic Ocean and the shore, stop us in place, fascinated.
There are two varieties of “surfing” Grey Herons: those looking for a handout from fishermen and independent operators. These photographs are of the latter, active feeders searching the wash for edibles: fish and crustaceans. These progress verrrrryyyyyy slooooowwwwllllyyyy, at a level high enough to avoid breaking waves, low enough for their long legs to be submerged.
The heron appears to be mesmerized by the waves until, suddenly, the head tilts slightly, the serpentine neck extends quick as a striking rattlesnake, the sharp beak pierces the water to emerge sometimes empty.
When successful, the beak holds an improbably large fish. The heron stands there, adjusting the catch with imperceptible head motions, until the victim is aligned lengthwise with the beak and gullet. A quick jerk forward and the catch is propelled into the upper throat, which expands. A few more jerks and it is consumed whole, unchewed. An amazing process to witness and only possible if you take the time for the slow process.
Another element is the heron’s tolerance of human observers. These herons ignore us if we keep an adequate distance. Elsewhere, a heron will take wings at the slightest provocation, as simple as a glance of a human and these will fly, uttering a raucous, rasping goodbye.
These photographs are from morning excursions, the subject is backlit. Afternoons, we do not encounter many stalking herons when the light is better. The individuals looking for handouts are out in the afternoon, generally, after the fishermen has thinned out. Don’t know why that is.
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills