Hi! My name is “Willie.” I am a Least Tern so that is “Willie Least Tern” for your information. The first image is a picture of me on the beach with my Mom; Well, actually I am just an egg in the picture :>) It will be 21 days until I hatch. Mom and Dad are one of 15 pairs of Least Terns in our “colony.” We started out with 15 scrapes (nests), most of which contained two eggs. Predators, mainly crows and ghost crabs, got the eggs in three of the scrapes. The remaining dozen pairs of adults successfully hatched 21 chicks. To say we were precocious at hatching is an understatement. Mom and Dad were often at their wits end trying to keep track of us. At first we would run back to the scrape or Mom would chase us and dig a new scrape so we could huddle under her, but as we became more venturesome they would simply come back with a fish and call and look for us until they found us. Unfortunately, during the first few days we were very vulnerable to being seized by ghost crabs and gulls. Some of my “classmates” ventured too close to nearby Black Skimmer scrapes and were driven off or killed by the skimmers. Now that was scary. Only ten of us made it to two weeks of age, but we grew fast and were flying by three weeks. Although we were still being fed by our parents, at four weeks we were flying all over the beach and out over the water. Learning to hover and dive for fish is next if we are to survive. I am ready!
Images by Lou Newman, Sarasota, FL, USA. May & June, 2012.Web Site: www.lounewmanphotography.com