Friday, July 18, 2014

Baby Killdeer, Baby Deer, and a Brown Thrasher at a Robins' Spa

I've had a great summer for seeing baby birds on the beach! After the excitement of the Piping Plover chicks (who continue to do well and should be flying off to start their adults lives any day now), I was very happy to find that the Killdeer eggs at Silver Sands State Park have hatched. Three baby Killdeer were running around on the beach yesterday morning!

One of the parents was keeping a close watch on the babies (and me) as they foraged:

It's so cool to see the similarities between these babies and the Piping Plover chicks, since these are both species of plover. But these guys are lankier and pointier (although to be fair, they're also probably a bit older than the Piping Plover chicks were when I first saw them), with bolder markings. What a handsome baby you are!

I love, love, love the long downy feathers that make up these guys' fluffy tails. I've never seen anything quite like that on a baby bird before, and it's just so fancy! These little birds have got some nice eyebrows, too:

And the mottling on their backs and heads is very pretty:

Baby Killdeer, I just want to snuggle you! But I won't. Happy bug-hunting!

In the fields behind the marsh, two White-tailed Deer fawns were grazing. (More "-deer" babies! How appropriate!) Such a lovely dappled creature:

The deer in this park are so used to people walking by, this little guy barely looked at me before going back to grazing and itching flies:

Its sibling (and presumably Mom, although I never saw her) headed back into the trees, but this fawn ambled up a nearby mound of dirt and rocks. I love those little feet, and those big smooth ears:

The fawn soon came bounding back down again, though, making little bleating sounds and looking around for its family. Ah, they're just over there. OK, a small snack first:

And then the little deer melted into the scenery:

Nearby, a wide lane through the park had become a spa for American Robins. Dozens of these birds -- sleek adults and spotty juveniles -- were flying around, calling, and taking advantage of several available cleaning methods. Quite a few robins were sunning themselves on the path, wings and feathers all splayed out:

This behavior looks so strange, but apparently it's quite normal. This adult was puffed up in a sunny spot right next to the path:

And when I walked past, it flew up into the nearby bushes for a thorough grooming session:

Amid all these robins, I was surprised to see a Brown Thrasher slinking around:

Brown Thrashers aren't super common in Connecticut, and I've only seen them a few times. How amazing are those yellow eyes? This thrasher worked its way down the lane until it reached a couple of puddles where robins were bathing:

A bath on this warm and sunny morning? Yes, I think so:

Yay, water:

Hey there (a robin insists), time's up, move along:

The thrasher yielded the puddle to the robin, looking a bit scraggly with those wet feathers:

I bet the bath felt good!

Other sights from yesterday's visit include a Common Yellowthroat (perhaps this year's fledgeling, with that yellow skin at the corner of its mouth?):

And a small band of Wild Turkeys at the road's edge:

My weekly visits to the beach continue to be awesome, and they almost make up for the fact that this summer has been woefully lacking in woods walks. I'll have to remedy that, and soon!

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