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All photos on this blog are for your personal viewing pleasure. They are copyrighted with all rights reserved. These images may not be used without express written permission.

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

A few In-Flight Shorebirds

The Least Tern is a small, cute and dainty Tern. This one hovered above the water, plunged in head first and came up with a little fishy.

(Left-Click to enlarge images.)

This baby Least Tern will be up in the air with its parents in no time.

A Black-Necked Stilt with its long legs trailing behind him.

A Black Skimmer skims the water with its lower mandible submerged in hopes of coming up with a little fish.

This Black Skimmer's beak is a bit muddy.

A Willet fly by.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Our Little Bluebird Family

The rainy winter days provide time to build a house for the delightful Bluebirds coming this spring. They can surely use our help.

The Peterson's Bluebird Nest Box consists of seven pieces of wood as seen in the picture. I use cedar and cypress as these woods are lightweight, dimensionally stable and bacterial/fungi resistant. These woods are safe for Bluebirds as they are not chemically treated. The Bluebird House will be around for years to come.

I cut the pieces, assembled them and mounted the nestbox on a pole hoping for a pair of Bluebirds to appear.

Left-click on images to enlarge.

Four days later a brilliant red, white and electric blue Mr. Bluebird appeared and lit on top of the nestbox pole.

Mrs. Bluebird accompanied her soul mate and peeked into the nestbox. She checked it out carefully and the two of them flew away.

I had almost given up on them when a couple of weeks later I was treated to a delightful sight!

They returned! Mrs. Bluebird wasted no time collecting nesting material as she began building a nest for their future family. She was tireless with her numerous trips back and forth to the box constructing her nest.

Several days later the action slowed and it was time to see what was in the box. What do you suppose we found when the door was opened?

It was thrilling to find a completed nest with four little blue eggs settled in the bottom not visible in this picture.

The Bluebirds hung around our back yard and could be seen going in and out of the box on occasions. Three weeks later we opened the nestbox door to see what was up. We were rewarded with ....

Three baby Bluebirds in the nest! A mirror was used to take this picture in order not to disturb the babies. Unfortunately, there was an infertile blue egg at the bottom of the nest that did not hatch but fortunately, there were three baby Bluebirds alive and doing well.

It wasn't long before we saw some little heads peeking from the nestbox.

On occasions the entrance got crowded.

The chicks were happy when they spotted Mom or Dad returning. The Bluebirds were amazing parents attending to their babies. They brought them grasshoppers, crickets, cockroaches and beetles to eat.

Mr. Bluebird skillfully placed insects in the youngster's beak while flying in mid-air. He closed his nictane membrane in case the young one got a bit wreckless with his beak, accidentally poking him in the eye.

Mrs. Bluebird's aerial skills were equally as accomplished delivering food to her babies. For such small baby Bluebirds they surely have large mouths.

An occasional green caterpillar was a treat for the babies.

The parents were immaculate housekeepers removing fecal sacs from the nest as needed.

What is different about this picture? This baby was a bit further out the nestbox. His feet were underneath him resting on the bottom of the entry hole. He set there for quite a while looking at the new world in front of him. It made me wonder what was going through his mind. Without warning and without hesitation, he took his leap of faith and flew away to join his parents.

The photos above give us a glimpse of how three Bluebirds developed and started their journey into the world thanks to two attentive and loving parents. It was a euphoric feeling for me watching the magic of Mother Nature unfold and being part of this great nature experience. I hope you enjoyed these pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them. Thanks for stopping by.