it’s a killdeer thing

7.13.22 ~ Beach Pond

Wednesday was supposed to be hot and humid so we decided to get up early and take a walk down at the beach before it opened. On the way there we heard some killdeer at the pond, incessantly trilling. I wondered if they might be trying to chase a Canada goose away from their nest.

killdeer urgently trilling
solitary Canada goose who refused to budge
a juvenile spotted sandpiper looks on
a least sandpiper also watches
Canada goose holding its ground
distraction display, used in courtship
or to chase intruders away from a nest-site

I couldn’t make out if they were courting or protecting a nest I couldn’t see. Those white stones at the feet of the one on the right don’t look like the pictures of eggs I’ve seen online, which would be mottled cream or buff with brown specks.

After some time, one of them moved to a spot farther away from the goose.

Then it was time for us to move on to the beach. The beach grooming tractor was busy at work but one gull was wading in the water with the early morning sunshine on his back. It felt good to walk across the sand, even with the hum of technology in the background.

7.13.22 ~ Eastern Point

Amazingly, we still haven’t turned on the air conditioning this year and we’re halfway through July! It’s getting slightly more humid this week but we haven’t had a heat wave yet and it’s been bearable so far. Very unusual.

28 thoughts on “it’s a killdeer thing”

  1. Such a lovely post. Going for a walk early is smart. We are stuck in numerous 100 degree days here. Typical for Arkansas in July and August. Little rain, yet high humidity.

    1. Thank you, Peggy! You have my sympathy over your 100 degree days — that sounds so oppressive. We haven’t even got to 90 yet but they say that’s on its way. I hope you’re managing to stay comfortable.

      1. Thanks Barbara. Trying to do outside yard work in early mornings and evenings. Will be in the 100s for weeks yet. Hope you stay cooler in your area.

        1. Ugh. Sounds like pretty rough going down south there. I remember gardening early in the morning at my daughter’s in North Carolina and feeling it was already too hot and humid.

    1. I’m so happy you can get a little taste of the sea here, Leelah. The beach is my refuge from the stresses of life, the gulls are my friends.

  2. How fortunate that you haven’t had any major heat wave and you can bask in summer’s beauty on your walks. We had one day of 102 but otherwise it’s mostly been pleasant too. Thanks for the beach walk.

    1. You’re welcome, Kathy. I feel a little guilty having all this nice weather when so many are suffering in the oppressive heat. 102 is hard to imagine — we start freaking out when it gets to 95. We might be getting our first heat wave next week.

  3. How neat that you got to witness the killdeer behavior. You make me want to head to the beach. Although the heat and sun often prevent me.

    1. The heat and sun keep me at home with the air conditioning, too. The shorebirds are more active at early in the morning and in the evening, which works for me!

    1. Thank you, Robin. Killdeer antics are kind of funny, now that you mention it. 🙂 I’m still wondering what all the fuss was about.

  4. I’m so glad that you are having good weather and that you are both well enough to go on these walks, Barbara. What a lovely thought of not having the AC running and no cost for awhile. I enjoy tagging along.

    The killdeer feather display is pretty. I have not noticed before, but killdeer have tall legs.

    The beach water looks inviting! What is the water temperature? It looks cool. I love how you were able to capture the reflection of the blue sky as the water rolls of the tide comes up. Beautiful!

    1. Thank you, TD. It was fun being with the gull who was enjoying his morning wade in the water. Early mornings at the beach are so serene, even with the noisy beach grooming contraption smoothing out the sand that day. A lower bill from the power company will be nice this month! 🙂 The water temperature is currently 68.7°F. (I bet your water is a lot warmer!) My kids used to freeze during their morning swimming lessons on the beach. 😉

      1. I agree with your kids that swimming in 68.7°F is chilly 🥶!

        I checked today’s near real-time temperatures from: NOAA’s on Water Temperature Table of the Western Gulf of Mexico which is 89.6 and the average water temperatures for July is 88 while August is 89. So, yes the waters are much warmer here than your area!

        I have always loved the warm waters of August. So relaxing to lay on a float at the water’s edge with the tides rolling over me. Enjoyable listening to the gulls laugh and watching the flocks of tiny plovers running back and forth as if they just don’t want to get their toes wet.

        Ah, yes the morning at the beach is serene. The sun rises on the horizon above the water here. It’s just lovely. Have “no guilt” for having great weather, Barbara! Take it all in while you can, I say!!

        1. The scene you describe, enjoying the warm water and the watching the shorebirds, sounds so peaceful and relaxing! It’s been a long time since I’ve sat at the water’s edge, digging my toes into the wet sand and letting the waves tickle my ankles… 🌞

  5. So long as the jet stream keeps gracing us with cool Canadian air, I’m happy. I don’t feel guilty, but do feel for those that are suffering in triple digit heat, phew.

    1. It’s been so enjoyable, that cool Canadian air! But it looks like we’re in for a change next week. And it looks like we’re headed for another drought, too. Still, I’m grateful for all the wonderful weather we’ve had so far.

  6. Love this post and the Killdeer story, Barbara! Awesome action shots!! Great variety of shore birds as well, all lovely. How wonderful to still not have had to turn the AC on, yay! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Donna! There was certainly a lot of avian drama that morning — I don’t think any of the participants ever noticed the photographer lurking around. 🌞

  7. How refreshing this water looks Barbara and the gull, like you, is enjoying his morning beach walk and dipping his feet in the water. How nice to walk on the beach with no one around but your feathered friend and the dull noise in the background, a human more than adequately social distancing. The Killdeer pics are so close up and the fanning of the tail feathers was impressive. They are such pretty birds with that distinctive white ring around their neck and markings on their face. I saw a Killdeers’ makeshift nest near a parking lot at Heritage Park once and marveled that the pair, who were clustered around the eggs, thought it was safe to build a nest that close to the parking curb. I don’t know all bird calls but recognize theirs. I keep my thermostat set at 76 in the Summer. If I was moving around the house, I may not need the A/C on, but sitting here from mid-day to bedtime, it gets warm in the kitchen, so I have the A/C on and my bill was not bad last month, considering we had several heat waves.

    1. It’s always fun watching the gulls wading. Sometimes when a bigger wave comes they float into it and then resume wading after it passes. You were so lucky to see the killdeer eggs, maybe someday I will discover some! Since we’ve had heat waves as early in the season as June I still can’t believe we’re in the middle of July and still haven’t had one. Something feels strange, especially when the rest of the country seems to be getting record-breaking highs. And what Europe is going through is incredible. They don’t have many air-conditioners in the UK, where it’s been triple digit temperatures in some places. We “might” get to 90 today.

      1. The gulls are like kids when riding the waves. 🙂 When I had birdbaths in the yard, I really enjoyed watching the birds bathing – they would get into it. When someone is watering their lawn with a sprinkler, I’ve seen Robins under the sprinkler or bathing in a street puddle. A little nirvana for them. My canary did not like the bathtub which hung on the side of the cage. Instead, he would wait until I wasn’t looking at him and plop into his water cup and splash away. I didn’t want him doing that as the water would splash everywhere, plus rust the cage bars and sometimes he’d chew on the bars. We have a heat wave today/tomorrow and a bad storm tomorrow afternoon to break the heat … it got to 94 today, but at least the A/C helps – the poor UK, 10 degrees hotter than us and no A/C. I heard that almost 1,800 people have died across Europe so far. Very sad and scary and my favorite meteorologist (in his 60s) has studied and reported on climate change for years and tells us this is only the beginning and we’ll never have Summers as we knew them again and get used to the new normal.

        1. Did you remove the birdbaths in your yard because of mosquitoes? They’re always warning us about standing water around here. We finally turned on the air-conditioning yesterday and it looks like it will be on for several days. Sadly, your meteorologist is right. I wish our president would invoke a national emergency over climate change but politics will probably keep him from doing so. So sad that people are more worried about inflation than having an inhabitable earth to live on. It’s hard practicing equanimity in the middle of all this climate chaos.

          1. No, unfortunately I had to remove the birdbath due to rats. A new neighbor moved in behind me/next-door neighbor and they had a pit bull. They put up a privacy fence themselves – due to the shoddy workmanship you could see between the slats. The dog was out 24/7 and barked incessantly so my neighbor peeked between the slats, saw the dog and its chain and doghouse and saw they fed it table scraps and didn’t clean up after the dog. Within a month of them moving in, my neighbor and I had rats. My mom and I paid for a pest control service for Marge’s house and ours to get rid of the rats. I was told not to feed the birds, nor put water out for them anymore. Rats eat the poison, it makes them thirsty – if they drink water, it dilutes the poison. Otherwise they die more quickly without water. It killed me then and it does now. I never put the birdbaths out again. I hope the parties will put their differences aside and see this crisis is an immediate concern – hopefully that can happen but like you, I am not hopeful.

            This morning I heard the Monarch butterfly was classified as an endangered species, down from 10 million in the 80s to 2,000 this year. I did not realize it was that bad. I went to the volunteer garden last week. They have orange Lantana flowers there and it makes gorgeous shots with the Monarchs. No Monarchs at all, but I did get some Eastern Swallowtail Butterfly shots.

          2. What a terrible situation with that irresponsible dog owner and the rats! So sorry that happened to you. Everything people do has an effect on others and it’s sad so many selfish people don’t stop to consider what trouble their behavior is causing for their neighbors.

            I was shocked to see that monarch butterfly report, too, especially since I saw so many of them last summer. But I guess what seems like a lot to me is really very few in the grand scheme of things. I just learned that our local golf course is a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. The other day I was admiring the patches of milkweed they are growing around the edges. Will have to keep checking for monarch sightings.

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