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