Monday, July 18, 2011

Silly Willet

Eastern Willet
(Catoptrophorus semipalmatus)

Upon my return to Cape Breton late this spring,
(spring was late, too!!),
The Ranger surprised me with 3 completed 
and installed Tree Swallow nesting boxes.

Much to my delight, the Tree Swallows returned the very next day
and after much 'to-do', inhabited all 3 boxes.

What does that have to do with silly Willets, you ask?
Well, they were under the impression that the Tree Swallow houses
were installed for their benefit!

It gives them a perfect vantage point for
keeping an eye on their territory, my 2.5 acre wet meadow.
From spring until mid-July, my airspace is filled with

On this particular morning, there were two willets
 really making a racket,
and they were everywhere....

These two birds filled the sky.  
You could have easily thought there were 20!
The Willet is often described as a large, chunky, shore bird with drab brown plumage.
That is until it takes of in flight!!

They were on the house top.

On the shed roof.

On the street lamp and.
even on the road.

This went on all day long.  I couldn't figure out what was going on.

Until around 2:00 when I was taking clothes in from the line.

Yep!  Three baby willets finally emerged from the grass 
and went across the road to the shore, one at a time.
A fourth wasn't too far behind. 
 I grabbed my camera and binoculars 
and sat on the shore,waiting patiently. 
 Almost one hour later, they worked their way through more grass,
and popped out onto the shore, 
where I lost them because they blended in so well.
It took them all day, but those babies made it 
across the 2.5 acres of meadow,
and across the ditch by the side of the road.

I was so impressed with the parent birds.  
They stuck to those babies like glue.
An eagle came down 4 times, 
and they fought him off each time.

They stuck around for a day and a half, 
then worked their way down the shore.
Today I observed them about 1/2 mile away
 at a friend's house.
I will miss them.

The female will eventually take off 
and leave the rest of the parenting to the male.

Reminder:  Tuesday is the last day to enter for a chance to win
a copy of Avian Architecture over at KaHolly.


texwisgirl said...

wow, that must have been a nerve-wracking day for those poor parents! interesting that the female takes off.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful shots under difficult circumstances! And a great story to go with them. It takes time invested in watching to be able to see these little dramas played out. And it is completely worth it!

Mama-Bug said...

Wow, wonderful blog and photos! I'm now your newest follower. Thanks for your comment on my blog; hope you'll drop by for a visit again sometime soon.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Kat, what an amazing story in pictures and words. Great captures.

grammie g said...

HI Karen..Very nice tale of the Silly Willets babies voyage to the shore line!!
Quite amazing what all birds go through to survive!!

grammie g said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Just Ramblin' said...

What a nerve wracking day for the parents and for you. I'm glad your quietly persevered and captured such great pictures. It was so nice of the Ranger to build you the nesting boxes. Thanks for sharing.

Roibin Robinson said...

Karen, very interesting series on the Willett. I find them great photo subjects. Last year, I inadvertently came up on a nesting site, which made Mom and Dad Willett really angry. Got some great pics as I beat a hasty retreat.

Gwendolyn L said...

I enjoyed the story of your birds. They are so cute. Thanks for sharing.

Out on the prairie said...

I like how they perch, a way to know they are still close.

walk2write said...

What an arduous journey those young ones must have had! So glad you were able to discover it and share with us.

jabblog said...

How very interesting! I have never heard of Willets before - they sound quite remarkable.

Roy said...

A good ending to that story Karen.

Larry D said...

Great post, and photos!

christopher said...

Beautiful pictures and story of their state of high alert.