2015 Killdeer Chicks

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Over two days the four killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) eggs in the scrape nest located on our driveway (Modoc County CA) hatched. I was surprised to see the early hatchlings wander about near the mother while she continued to incubate the … Continue reading

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2015 Osprey Nests

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I spend a lot of time observing two osprey nests near Crystal Lake (Shasta County CA). Although I cannot see any chicks yet, the adults are definitely “tending” – probably eggs. Osprey have five distinctive calls that sound like high-pitched … Continue reading

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Female Common Whitetail

This gallery contains 3 photos.

Dragonflies begin life as a tiny egg scattered on the surface of the water, buried in the mud of a stream bottom or inserted into vegetation floating on or overhanging water. Within several weeks or after overwintering, nymphs (the larval … Continue reading

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Oregon Sidalcea

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Found in moist meadows, Oregon sidalcea (Sidalcea oregania) is a Western native with rose-colored flowers clustered along the tip of the stem. The lower leaves are rounded with shallow lobes while the upper leaves are deeply divided with 5 to … Continue reading

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Worried Mother

Broken-wing Display

Broken-wing Display

The female killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) on the nest in our driveway is  accustomed to Leonard and me and will usually not respond when we walk nearby.  However, on rare occasions she will decide to perform her “broken-wing display” to lure us away from the nest.

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Killdeer Scrape Nest

Kildeer (Charadrius vociferus) make “scrape” nests in open habitat. The male kildeer scrapes or scratches a shallow depression with its feet. The female lays eggs in the bare scrape. Only after the eggs are laid will the killdeer add a few rocks, twigs or other items to the nest. The nest is completely exposed, relying on camouflage for protection. Killdeer also perform a “broken wing display” to lure predators away from the nest.

This year there is a killdeer nest in the middle of our gravel driveway (Modoc County CA). (I do believe there is a suicide gene involved!) Leonard and I have so far succeeded in isolating the nest and keeping unsuspecting vehicles away. However, as can be seen the nest is well hidden.

Camouflaged Nest

Camouflaged Nest

Hidden amid the gravel the nest contains four buffy eggs heavily marked with blackish-brown.

Four Eggs

Four Eggs

Killdeer chicks are able to leave the nest shortly after hatching. I am closely monitoring the nest and with luck will see the hatchlings before their mother moves them to a less exposed area.

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Blue-eyed Darner in Flight

Blue-eyed Darner

Blue-eyed Darner

Some dragonflies are difficult to photograph because they flit about in constant motion, while others perch for long periods and make excellent “models”. Recently the blue-eyed darners flying along the Tule River (Shasta county CA) all seemed to be in “hover mode” allowing time to focus. As suggested by their name, blue-eyed darners have bright blue eyes and faces, blue stripes along the thorax and an abdomen that is a mosaic of blue, black and copper. Beautiful!

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