"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Monday, July 13, 2009

Babes of Tern Lake... Flora and Fauna of Tern Lake, part three

Oh, did I say "babes?" Sorry, I meant "babies." As in "Babies of Tern Lake." My, my, what a difference an "i" makes.

So, here's an overview of Tern Lake, where I spend a lot of evenings kayaking around and trying not to get my skull punctured by Arctic terns protecting their young. The photo is looking east, and I live a mile up the road in that direction. Hazy skies are because of wildfires burning dozens of miles away.

For those of you who live where it gets dark at night in the summer, all of these photos except the first two were taken between 8:30 and 11 p.m. this past week.

You should be able to double-click these photos to enlarge them to full screen.

Looking west from the same spot. You can see all the islands that I paddle around, finding all sorts of things to photograph.

"Who dat?"

It's a young sea gull, destined to grow up to be as idiotic as its parents. Don't know why I say that? Go ahead, double click on this photo...

And another.
Oh, no, now there's two of them!
Ah, my favorites. The common loons and their two young. The loons have a lot of fun with me.
Love these birds.

Note the red eyes.
Okay, I'm not good at identifying ducks, but I think these are teals.
Same ducks, closer up.
The beautiful Arctic Tern babies.
And another. Oddly, I was in a small "cove" at one of the islands, just big enough for my kayak. These babies were probably 25 feet from me, and I sat quietly taking pictures. The adult terns, notorious for attacking and stabbing interlopers with their long sharp bills, left me alone. Instead, they went after my neighbor Rose, who was paddling around the island.

Sunday evening, the babies waited onshore for dinner. Tonight, they are flying. Soon they'll leave to migrate south, some as far as Antarctica--20,000 miles.

Again with the question about duck ID. I THINK this is a green-winged teal, for obvious reasons. However, some markings are missing, so I'm not sure. It is much larger than the ducklings I've seen around the lake, so I think it's full grown. It seemed to be baby-sitting this Arctic Tern baby. (Yep. Rose confirms it's a green-winged teal.)
Here comes an adult with dinner for the tern.
Note how the duck didn't move away, nor did the tern attack it.
Instead, the baby tern got dinner.
Birds of a feather...
Baby tern fledged and flying.
Ummm.... more teals, I think.
Kinda hard to tell. On second thought, I think these are mallards. Photo was taken at 11 p.m., and I can't see mama's identifying blue wing patch, but I think they're mallards.
Sandpiper. A very docile, unperturbed greater yellowlegs sandpiper.

And if you're wondering what all the adult birds think of me kayaking around taking pix of their kids:Haven't been able to get one in focus on its bombing run yet. Their favorite trick is to come up from behind and scream loudly as they pass within a foot or two of my head.

to be continued...next: predators and prey


  1. The pictures you paint with your camera are as incredible as the pictures you paint with your words. May you never run out of either one!

  2. There's never a dull moment where you live, Gully. In the house you've got Pablo and outdoors, you've got an entire world of wonder waiting to be watched and wooed. (Sorry, I got carried away with words beginning with a w).

    Lon's gonna love these loons.