Scratching That Itch

Thursday, October 15, 2020,

This is a juvenile Snowy Egret finding the spot. Luckily, these birds come equipped with a pair of excellent back (or neck) scratchers. And they’re very nimble. You can identify this Snowy as a juvenile by the yellow line that runs along the back of its leg. Snowy Egrets are known for their bright yellow feet aka “Golden Slippers.” Adults have all black legs but as youngsters, they have pale yellow legs. As the summer progresses, their legs lose the yellow and become black. In my mind’s eye and highly unscientific view, I imagine all that pale yellow coloration slowly draining down to their feet and concentrating into those classic Golden Slippers. JK.



Young Skimmers

Wednesday, September 30, 2020,

These are a pair of pics of juvenile Black Skimmers that I took on the south shore recently. The bird in the top photo is begging for food and actively harassing its parents. Both birds are nearly the size of the adults. Normally, at this point in the season, these youngsters would be much more self sufficient but Tropical Storm Isaias wiped out a bunch of the Skimmer nests and even chicks so many of the Skimmers were forced to re-nest. While this speaks volumes of the dedication of Skimmer parents and the persistence of Mother Nature, these newer chicks face a much tougher immediate future than their brethren who were hatched earlier in the season. I wish them all well.  JK.



Looking Back

Thursday, September 24, 2020,

This is a juvenile Oystercatcher looking back at me as I was photographing it at Point Lookout Beach. I don’t know that this will be the last juvenile Oystercatcher that I photograph this year, but these pics do make for a decent bookend for what has been a pretty good year for Oystercatchers here on Long Island. This particular bird was banded, as you can see in the photo below, so I hope that I can maybe photograph it next year or, at the very least, follow it’s exploits in the coming years. I wish you well, my young one, and I truly hope that our paths cross again.  JK.


A Good Sign

Tuesday, September 15, 2020,

This is a pair of pics of a juvenile Green Heron at Frank Melville Park. The key word here is juvenile. You see, a pair of Green Herons has nested at the park for at least the past four years. Unfortunately, after three years of producing three chicks each season, last year’s nest failed. Twice. Both nests were destroyed by storms. It was the first time in at least four years that our park’s Green Herons did not produce any young. Stuff happens and yada,yada,yada, when nest failures occur, sometimes the returning couple do not return. I was fully aware of this and I was worried that “our” Green Herons might not return. However, earlier this year, I saw at least one of the Herons bringing nest materials to the same small island that they had used in the previous years. Alas, nothing ever came of it and no nest was ever fully completed there. I feared the worst. Fast forward to last week when I saw this very beautiful and very welcome bird fishing in the estuary behind the Mill. Now, I cannot be certain that this youngster is the offspring of the couple that used to nest at Frank Melville each year, but I choose to believe so. JK.