Monday, August 16, 2010
More "chicks" come out of hiding
Today, when I first arrived at the lake, the coyotes were having a howl fest. I don't know what their problem was, but it was way past their bedtime of 7AM. It may be due to the fact that the construction work in the M6 area has begun again. And, it is LOUD! Good thing that all the chicks can fly away now.
Today, there was another "extra" killdeer in the ballfield. I suspect that Digger has made her way on the killdeer social scene with her appearance there. I can't really tell for sure as I didn't see her when she molted and got her adult feathers and colors, but I really suspect that she may be there. And, I think her sister, Secret is becoming less afraid. I don't think I've seen Digger's dad or her sister Shy there, yet. But, they may be on their way.
The reason why I am still holding out for Shy is that Killer, the third of George and Martha's chicks has come onto the scene in Alvarado Bay. I know it's Killer and not Tiny because the one that I think is Tiny has the same forehead marks that he had when he was a baby. Killer is much smaller than Tiny (go figure, you call something Tiny and it grows big), but just as feisty.
Killer and Tiny like to fight with each other. They posture, call and chase each other around. I don't think they're serious, but this is good play for them. Firecracker watches and tries to follow, but they often fly around from place to place and she can't keep up.
At first, I thought Mom was the only adult there and she flew off with the boys leaving Firecracker alone and calling for companionship. But, when I looked through my photos, one of the killdeer I thought was Firecracker was actually George, the dad. But, Firecracker was still very lonely and called for her brothers.
While I was looking over my photos, a noticed that either Tiny or Firecracker almost got snagged in some fishing line.
I went back later in the late afternoon and it was all cleaned up. All three chicks were playing with one parent watching over them as they dodged loose dogs and people walking by. Luckily, they can fly away from danger now. I don't know which parent was watching them at that time as I didn't have my binoculars. I think it was dad because he was keeping his distance from them, probably trying to stay out of the fighting.
Dad doesn't seem to be aggressive towards his sons one bit, but stays on the sidelines, watching out for hawks, humans and dogs as his kids play. Perhaps having a sibling along will keep the male chicks' raging hormones directed at each other rather than their father.
George's previous male chick didn't have a brother to spar with and ended up picking fights with older males and getting hurt, not to mention attacking his dad who didn't want to be near him because of his aggression. It might have put Junior at a disadvantage, socially.
Also seen today:
The little duckling (10 days old now)
A couple of Say's Phoebe (sorry about the branch over his eye). It could be a kingbird, but the bill and wing-shape were different as was the call.
A spotted sandpiper
I think this might be a pair of yellow warblers, a female and juvenile being fed.