Thursday, July 10, 2014

Black Oystercatcher Chicks

Although we were unable to see the chicks at Short Beach on July 2nd, our July 8th survey farther south, at Road's End, gave me a good view of the North nest rock chick. The two adults below have their backs to us. The chick is between them. If you look closely (or click on the photo to enlarge), you can see that the chick's bill is beginning to show color.

Here is a cropped version with parent and chick. The base of the chick's bill is starting to lighten.

Johnny could tell the Middle Rock parents at Road's End were feeding a chick but never saw the chick. Maybe next time. (That is our BLOY survey mantra... Maybe next time...)

After our customary lunch at the Jasmine Thai restaurant, we headed south to Boiler Bay with friend Dawn, who monitors four nests there. One had failed earlier, another had chicks that seem to have disappeared, a third had just hatched chicks, and the fourth was a mystery. This day, however, the mystery was solved when a chick came out to get something to eat that a parent brought. Johnny got this photo through the scope. Dawn has better ones. The chick is under the ledge with the adult between chick and camera.

The unusual thing about this nest is that it is not on its own offshore rock, like all the other nests in our area. Rather it is within twenty feet of another pair's nest... and now chick... on what we call Two Tone Rock. Usually pairs will not allow other BLOY within many feet of their nest rock. I'm wondering if these pairs might be offspring of the pair on a nearby rock that have been successful parents every year since I began paying attention to them. Dawn watched them fledge two chicks last year. Perhaps one of each of these two pairs, nesting so close together, are siblings. If only these birds had colorful leg bands or wing tags so we could identify them!

It was another great day at the beach: not too hot, not too cold. I look forward to our next survey.

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