Here, from our back patio, is a view of a typical sunrise in mid-June:
Keeping an eye on the weather, Mary Lou and I guessed we had at least a couple of hours before a line of storms would arrive. As usual, she made the 3 mile round trip in less than an hour.
On the way in, we encountered 3-4 pairs of Killdeer flying, calling and displaying along the gravel road. Their behavior suggested that they had nests in the low grass next to the path. This particular one stood out, as I thought its plumage appeared to be lighter than the others, as if worn or bleached. Not giving it much thought, I proceeded on my way.
As it turned out, I am quite sure I met this same bird again later that morning, under other circumstances:
There were some interesting finds, among them a pair of Great Crested Flycatchers. They persisted in a small grove near the north end our our birding patch. They may be nesting there:
One rested among the branches of a Red Maple, providing an autumn-like setting at the time of the summer solstice, making up for our lack of fall colors:
A Raccoon, seeming to pay me no heed, ambled beside the barrier fence and continued along the unpaved road:
After almost two hours the sun was beating down as clouds gathered on the horizon. I headed back home, paying little heed to the Killdeers which continued to call and display. Since it was so hot, I moved to the grass on the shady side of the roadway.
Suddenly a Killdeer startled me by screaming loudly. Thinking I might have stepped on its nest, I cautiously side-stepped to my right to get back on the clear gravel path. The bird held its ground, screeching each time I took a step.
It was a brave little creature, facing my threatening bulk from only about four feet in front of me. Then I saw a nest next to it. It contained four eggs which blended almost perfectly with the surrounding gravel:
It was necessary for me to step back to fit the entire scene in my prime telescopic lens. The nest is to the right in this photo:
As I backed away, the bird seemed to realize that I did not intend any harm, and she moved to the nest and gradually settled down to cover the eggs:
When I looked for the nest without aid of binoculars I was astounded at how well it was camouflaged, right out in plain sight!
My pocket camera has zoom, so it came in handy to illustrate how well the nest and its occupant blend into the surroundings. Try to find the bird as I expand the view, keeping the subject in the center of the image (click on photo to enlarge):
The next day I tried to remember the location of the nest. Not wanting to alarm the Killdeer I walked slowly in the middle of the road. Suddenly she gave herself away in an attempt to lead me away from the nest site.
She groveled pitifully on the ground as if undergoing a painful death, her russet tail a flag begging for my attention:
I walked toward her and she suddenly recovered good health and flew a few yards ahead. When I stopped moving, her agony returned. Feigning that I had been deceived by this distraction display, I followed behind her, away from the nest. Once we had gone a safe distance, she quietly flew back to tend her eggs.
Surely this helped to relieve her intense anxiety, and I had reinforced a behavior which, over the eons, has contributed to the survival of a species.
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Linking to Misty's CAMERA CRITTERS,
Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,
Linking to FENCES AROUND THE WORLD by Gosia
Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James
Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni
Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart
Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue
Linking to ALL SEASONS by Jesh
Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display