[Tweeters] Killdeeer hatching day, LHG Belleuve

Pterodroma at aol.com Pterodroma at aol.com
Thu Apr 18 11:28:58 PDT 2013

18Apr -- Lake Hills Greenbelt (LHG), Bellevue, and right on schedule,
HATCHING DAY for Killdeer #1 in the new blueberry patch east of the Larsen Lake
restrooms. Five rows over, I found all four new chicks all huddled
together in hiding as both adults went into their feigned and noisy injury
display. Four tiny balls of fluff atop what was otherwise all legs and feet, or
as they say, "cute as a button", then one by one broke ranks and scampered
away toppling all over themselves. The brooding adult never once was seen
off the nest from the day when discovered, 19 March, which I believe was in
fact the very first day of egg laying and commencement of incubation. I
was not at all surprised not to see her on the nest this morning and knew
the brood was likely out and on the loose, and it didn't take long to find
the chicks. Once the adults commenced the feigned injury display, I knew the
chicks had to be very close. So, 28-30 days incubation for this Killdeer
which is exactly right on the mark! That nest was easy to monitor safely
from afar as it had been flagged and further protected with a perimeter of
green tape thus I never had to go near it again. Okay, so leave those ones
alone now and keep my eye on the Killdeer #2, a re-nesting bird which
originally commenced egg laying and nesting on the same day, but lost its 4
eggs when I found the nest pilfered and empty on that cold frosty Easter
Sunday morning to a probable roaming opportunistic predator, maybe the resident
raccoon, crows, or possibly even simply the Easter Bunny coming up short at
the last minute. Anyway, this second nest if all goes as planned and
remains undisturbed, should hatch and sport four more chicks in about two weeks.

Elsewhere around the greenbelt lately, Spring is slowly but steadily taking
hold, and little by little new Spring birds arrive as birds of the Winter
depart. The near 2-month long reign of the Larsen Lake Common Redpolls is
long since done and gone now with the last LHG Redpoll sighting on
27March, a single female that apparently didn't get the memo the day before when
the horde of 65-75 gathered in a staged assembly preparing to depart
enmass. Left behind was that lone female who suddenly found herself in the birch
grove all alone and in the company of a couple unfamiliar brightening
yellowish canary-like things, American Goldfinches I think birders call them.
It was interesting to note that the Redpoll departure occurred right at the
faintest very first hint that the birch leaves were beginning to bud and
some greening twigs. In the absence of the Redpolls, nesting birds have
moved in to those very same birches, Northern Flicker in one tree,
Red-breasted Nuthatch in another, and yesterday I found a nesting Anna's Hummingbird
on her mostly lichen built nest high up on yet another birch and branch
hanging over the trail.

Other most recent notables this past week, a Common Loon was on Phantom
Lake for 3-4 days and a Hermit Thrush was an early morning regular for the
past three days around the Phantom Lake parking lot, restrooms, and
sidewalks, and a River Otter was seen in Phantom Lake yesterday. The familiar sight
and sound of Varied Thrushes and the breathless twittering Pacific Wrens
throughout for the past couple months are mostly gone now or have at least
gone silent.

So, that be the news from "Lake Wobegon", where the birders are old, the
birds ordinary, and your's truly, below average.

Richard Rowlett
Bellevue (Eastgate), WA

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