The above photograph was taken by bander Abby Sterling on Little St. Simons Island two years ago. Here is the same bird I photographed on April 27, 2014 on Jekyll Island, all grown up:
This is the time of year that the royal terns have their best caps on, and strut their stuff with panache. The males weren’t bringing little fish to seduce the females like they did last year. Perhaps there weren’t any of their favored kind? Or perhaps it was too early or too late in the courtship?
At any rate, a few pairs were doing their endearing pas de deux as a preliminary to mating. Read the rest of this entry »
I think the Cape May Warbler is a lifer for me. At least it’s the first time I’ve ever photographed it. This guy was foraging in a bottlebrush bush. Read the rest of this entry »
Normally I am not too interested in the doings of gulls, but the rather handsome Laughing Gulls were engaged in an intriguing courtship and I couldn’t help but photograph it.
I watched the smaller gull (I really didn’t know the sexes were different sizes) seem to flirt with or beg from the larger one. Since females of many animal species are often larger, and since it’s usually the male trying to charm the reluctant female, I assumed the smaller one was the guy gull.
Several times I watched as this teasing eventually led to the larger gull doing something curious.
The larger gull would regurgitate a whole fish! The smaller gull would then eat it.
Sometimes there would be a tug of war. Sometimes another gull, familiar with the ritual, would swoop in and steal the gift.
Now I know males often feed females during courtship and breeding. Was this a coy female getting her boyfriend to cough up a gift?
Then I saw the larger gull would always be the one on top, in the dominant position of the male. So I had to change my entire perspective of this courtship. Male Laughing Gulls are bigger. Females are the seducers.
For a one-minute video:
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From one day’s visit to Jekyll Island, Georgia I will have several blogs to come. I am moving to my new seasonal job in Colorado and am too busy packing to write, so I will just post the photographs. Read the rest of this entry »
The Great Backyard Bird Count has expanded beyond backyards into anywhere birders wish to pursue their avian quarry as citizen scientists. Birder friend Marilyn and I joined Lydia Thompson’s group on Jekyll Island, Georgia, after photographing the combined sunrise/moonset on the north beach that you might have seen in my previous post.
We split into three groups, with ours led by a very good birder Mike Chapman. I’m usually not the first to spot a bird, although I can still hear the very high notes of the cedar waxwings – which many people my age can’t register anymore. But I did find the black-and-white warbler scouring the oaks for insects. Read the rest of this entry »
We had the beach to ourselves this winter morning, before the sun crested the horizon, watching the vivid sky. A few photographers came along later, when the best light was gone. Marilyn and I were piggybacking this sunrise photo session with a morning of counting birds for the Great Backyard Bird Count on Jekyll Island, GA. We were going to do light painting after sunset, but we were too tired. This boneyard – which is what they call a beach strewn with skeleton trees – will be a perfect place for that. Another time. Read the rest of this entry »