Thursday, September 12, 2013

Parasitic Portrait

I had fairly high hopes for today, not least of which was that I could actually go birding.  The first North winds in some time were considerably less than predicted and though I ended with exactly zero yearbirds, the most interactive Parasitic Jaeger we've had yet more than made up for it.  Most of the jaegers that go by are a couple or several hundred yards out.  Sometimes (like last post) one will cut by maybe a hundred yards away.  This one did considerably better, attacking the gulls at the end of the pier.  We were impressed.

It has longer tail extensions than does the average juvie Parasitic and honestly seems to have somewhat broader wingbases than does the average one, but both may be a function of having a sweet look.

The bird went into full attack mode a few times, mainly targeting the Ring-billeds though it did tail-chase a Bonaparte's well out as well.  The jaeger would seem to try to match the wingbeats of the target, perhaps gaining additional aerodynamic advantage.  The Ring-billed is craning its neck down to look at the jaeger.  I thought it was interesting they've both turned their heads the same way as they lean into their turn.

Proof that turnabout is fair play, a young Herring Gull seemed to take umbrage at the jaeger harassing its Ring-billeds.  Only it gets to harass the Ringbills.
Herring Gull (behind), Ring-billed Gull (in front)

Finally, one less display of how low the bird was,

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