We Caught Them All

Jerri and I went to FP yesterday to check up on Least Terns and Ospreys before we leave for PA on Saturday.

ankles-1

Our first interesting encounter was this rather surprised looking Yellow Crowned Night Heron, standing ankle deep in a parking lot and

what-a-face

looking rather surprised to see us. Jerri captured both these shots.

Then on along the road, looking for nesting Least Terns, these two

don't you turn your back on me

seemed to be having an argument about something. Maybe he wasn’t bringing her her fish fast enough, as she sat on the nest tending their eggs.

bm-takes-a-break

On down the way, at Battery Worth, Big Mama decided not to wait for her fish delivery to take a brief break from the eggs. Maybe just to stretch her wings – because she was back in less than a minute.

And next door

here's-lunch-honey

they seemed to have it right – the guy was bringing his mate her share of a pretty nice fish (after he had had his share, of course). Funny thing was – he allowed her to snack on it for a few minutes, then he snatched it up and went away to have some more himself.

Across the way we discovered what may be the first Osprey chick of this year, looking out to see the world.

1st-osprey-chick-of-2018

And down near the fort, where the new ferry landing is, this young GBH crept out from under the walkway to stand facing the sun, in an apparent attempt to either dry his feathers or flash the woman who was fishing just down the beach.flasher-heron

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A Day For Least Terns and Skimmers

Well, they’re back, and nesting. But nowhere near in the numbers they had last year. I’m afraid the flood last June that ¬†killed so many chicks has had an effect on them.

hey-you!

This one, near Fort Pickens Road, seemed to be saying – just go away and leave me alone. Because, obviously …

one-egg

… she had one young-un to look after, and was probably expecting another (maybe even two more) soon.

Meanwhile, down at Opal Beach, there were several more.

flight-tern

All of them looked healthy – and fiesty! This guy took an immediate dislike for me and decided to dive at the car just to let me know I was not welcome to come any closer.

So I meandered down to the Causeway at the Navarre Beach Bridge to look for Black Skimmers. There are currently two huge pods, or flocks, or whatever you call them, along the east side of the road. And as soon as I started shooting I noticed this commotion:

oh-yeah!-

A confrontation between a tiny Least Tern and a much larger Skimmer. It seems that the Tern’s mate had decided to set up housekeeping right in the middle of this gang of Skimmers. And now …

defending-his-mate copy

…it was the little guy’s duty to fight off any interlopers who might get too close to her.

This could be a long process. I’ve noticed in the past that the Skimmers are very curious about Tern nests in their territory. I don’t know if they disturb them, but they sure are curious. And since it takes about 19 days for a Least Tern chick to hatch … well, Dad’s got a lot of defending to do.

So, ¬†good luck, all you little guys. And you big guys too. I’ll come around to check on you whenever I get a chance.