Another day short on time and had to skip my nightly excursion to the peninsula. Instead I visited the boat ramp and marina. There were no less than eight green herons by the marina this morning. It’s a small area, about two lot sizes long and maybe 20 feet wide, but it’s a good hunting ground. They were sharing space with a black-crowned night heron, a yellow-crowned, a great egret, and a little blue heron. It’s a hot spot.
By the boat ramp a new group of terns dropped in. It was a family (3) of Royal terns–mom, dad and baby. In the left photo, the bird on the right is a baby, a hungry baby. I know this because shortly before this photo another tern flew in with a small fish and fed it to the little guy, who gulped it down and cried for more. The fish delivery man took off right away apparently in search of another. Raising babies is not an easy job. (Note: these Royal terns look very similar to the Sandwich Terns featured two days ago, but recall the Sandwich terns are the only terns with black bills. You’ll notice that these terns have orange bills.)
It’s time to give a purple martin update. They have left the area. All of the martins houses are vacant. The house closest to the deck was vacated July 15, though the martins in the lighthouse did not leave until July 27. The photo on the left is from July 22. Pictured, the young birds are resting after completing a morning of aerial maneuvers. Here’s an interesting article from last year’s Houston Chronicle about the “staging” that occurs in Houston (and other areas) as the birds prepare to head for South America.
For the record per this blog, the first purple martins were reported in the area February 14 and said to take up residence in the one of the houses February 19. Now, five months later they are gone – the first wave of our “seasonal” bird migration has begun.