Thursday, June 30, 2005

Today the baby Violet-green Swallows ventured out of the original nest cup for the first time. They were all over the place, even totally blocking the camera opening for a while. I noticed that mom came in for one last feeding at 9:30 p.m. and then departed, apparently thinking she will get more rest if she doesn't spend the night in the same bed with these five rambunctious kids.

The young Violet-green Swallows' wing feathers on day 13. According to the books, they should be ready for flight within the next week.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

This very active flying creature visited my office today. I don't yet know its name (I think it may be a wasp) but it is quite remarkable even without a name. It measures about 1/2 inch in length.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

At twelve days of age, the Violet-green Swallows look like a mixture of rodent and reptile. Only when one climbs on top of its siblings to exercise its tiny wings do you get a glimpse of the graceful aerialist that is soon to be. This process is really quite a metamorphosis.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Arctic Tern incubating a single egg at Safety Lagoon, east of Nome, Alaska, on June 13, 2005.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Arctic Tern egg in a shallow nest on the ground near Safety Lagoon, about 20 miles east of Nome, Alaska, on June 13, 2005.

The Arctic Tern was a common species in the area around Nome, Alaska. This one was fiercely defending a nest, not only making contact with my head, but leaving a messy deposit there as well.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Violet-green Swallow nestlings are about a week old, and are keeping both parents very busy. Their development from one day to the next is quite apparent. All five appear to be healthy, but in my opinion they'll look better in feathers.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Birders who travel to Nome are most likely hoping to see a Bluethroat. This Eurasian species comes only to the northwestern edge of North America for the breeding season, then migrates back across the Bering Sea to winter from Southeast Asia to northern Africa. It can be difficult to find because of its skulking habits. I finally saw this one on my fourth day in Nome, and then it put on a great performance, flying around energetically, singing, and doing a very good imitation of the calls of several other species.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The nest of the Black Phoebe in Yamhill Co., Oregon, on the bank of the Willamette River. Again this evening I could find only one adult Phoebe present in the area.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Long-tailed Jaeger in morning sun near Nome, Alaska.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Long-tailed Jaeger egg (2 1/8 by 1 1/2 in.) on June 17 NW of Nome.

The small circle in the photo surrounds a Long-tailed Jaeger incubating a single egg in a nest on tundra 25 miles northwest of Nome, Alaska, on June 17, 2005..

I just returned today from a 5-day birding trip to Nome, Alaska. It was one of those experiences beyond words. The Long-tailed Jaeger serves as a symbol of my trip, a species I had seen only once before. In the hundreds of square miles of tundra and mountains around Nome, this striking bird was found more often than any other of the larger species, but I never tired of watching its graceful flight as it searched for prey, or chased ravens away from the territory near its nest.

Friday, June 10, 2005

This Violet-green Swallow nestbox on the side of my house has been in use for several years, but this year the webcam box was attached to one end for the first time. The opening to the box is designed to discourage House Sparrows from trying to nest here, and has been working well. It measures about 2 3/4 in. x 7/8 in.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The female Violet-green Swallow is now spending most of the time keeping her eggs warm, especially on rainy days like today. Her frequent movements and her 16 grams of weight are gradually compressing the nest, so now she is low enough again to be within the camera's field of view. I expect the eggs to hatch no later than June 17.

Friday, June 03, 2005

There are now five Violet-green Swallow eggs in the nestbox on the side of my house. However, the eggs in this photo were collected by my father (authorized by state and federal permits) on June 6, 1953, and are now in the collection at Portland State University. He found them also in a nestbox he had mounted on our house at that time. The 52-year-old eggs look just like the ones I saw today with the aid of a mirror and a flashlight.