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Thread: Rookery Timeline

  1. #11

    Default Re: Rookery Timeline

    Visited this morning, am trying to go once a week. No new birds, but did see black-crowned night heron nestlings for the first time. The snowies have been brooding for awhile now, those should be the next babies seen, if anyone sees them, please report. What was new is that this time I saw the little blues and the cattle egrets gathering sticks for nests. I didn't see any of them brooding. There was a gang of about 10 or so juvenile ibis playing in the pond across from the gym, no adults, just the young'uns. Did see 2 adults elsewhere also gathering sticks. Darn anhingas continue to stay to the skies and interior. Wish they would nest in a more accessible place.
    Kaptured by Kala

  2. #12

    Default Re: Rookery Timeline

    4/30/16 field notes as observed walking around the perimeter of rookery. Observations at dusk of the bird egress back to rookery from 5th floor of the garage on SW side of rookery. Many interesting birds....

    Over 1000 cattle egrets
    50 or more Little Blue Herons observed
    Six(minimum) Tri colored herons observed flying into rookery
    100 or more White Ibis
    Great Blue Heron
    Two White Faced Ibis

    White Faced Ibis were most interesting, they flew in together and landed deep in the middle of the rookery. Unclear if they are nesting.

    Tons of Little Blue Herons. Wave after wave of them flying into the rookery. Very impressive.

  3. #13

    Default Re: Rookery Timeline

    Went to the rookery this morning. Too many of each species to report numbers but here is the stages they are at:
    1. Great Egrets still at all stages with many fledglings on the ground plus many nests of eggs stage.
    2. Black crowned herons also seem to have nests at the egg stage, several with hatchlings (what a distinctive sound the parent makes when they bring food, makes finding those babies much easier). For the first time I saw several of their fledglings perched and on the ground and able to fly.
    3. Lots of snowy egrets brooding but I have yet to see any babies, has anyone? If so, tell me where please.
    4. Lots of cattle egrets brooding on nests now, they seem to choose lower trees and bushes. No evidence of babies yet that I saw. They are no longer shy and easier to photograph.
    5. Finally got a shot of a female anhinga on a nest, brooding. No sign of babies yet.
    6. Still seeing a pair of tri-colored herons on the side where you have the TWU building at your back. I have not spotted them on a nest yet, would like to get a shot of that if I can. I do see them breaking off sticks and got them mating a few weeks ago.
    7. Lots of little blue herons in several different locations, not too far in. However, I have not spotted a nest yet, has anyone?
    8. Both adult and juvenile ibis here and there in several different places but I have not spotted a nest yet, I have seen some stick gathering. Has anyone seen a nest yet?
    9. I did not see any white faced ibis from the ground or on the roof of parking garage, would love to see them.
    10. A couple of weeks ago I saw an orange colored feral cat, this week I saw an all black feral cat, hunting is good. Several dead great egret babies on the ground and a couple hanging out of the nest. No other species causalities that I have seen yet.
    Interesting difference in baby feeding between great egrets and black-crowned herons. The great egret parent stands within reach among the babies and feeds them. The babies attack each other during the feeding. The black crowned heron perches out of reach above the babies and reaches down to feed them and I did not see any sibling aggression with them.
    One other interesting thing I have learned. The green lores of the great egrets goes back to yellow once they have a mate and are brooding. And the red lores on the snowies do the same thing. And with the black-crowned night herons, those pink legs go back to yellow once they are brooding. To quote Betsy: "Guess you don't need the makeup anymore once you find your mate"
    Kaptured by Kala

  4. #14

    Default Re: Rookery Timeline

    5/10/2016- During the day/afternoon of May 10th it was reported that a couple individuals with cameras were spotted deep in the UTSW Rookery, trespassing. I don't know the particulars but if anyone sees trespassers inside the rookery please call UTSW Police at the non-emergency number 214-648-8311 and try to get as much information to pass along to them as possible. This is a serious matter and will not be tolerated. We will lose access as guests to the rookery if certain individuals continue this behavior.

    As a reminder signs line the perimeter of the rookery, noting trespass. I realize everyone reading this forum would never trespass into the rookery but others with selfish ideas might.

  5. #15

    Default Re: Rookery Timeline

    I was at the rookery this morning. Did not see anyone trespassing. I will go right up to the tree line at spots (that is the only way you can see the anhinga on the nest back in there) but not past that. Today I finally found several Snowy nests with babies. And I observed a snowy parent regurgitate food not into the open bill of babies but directly into the nest and the babies dipped their heads down and came up with food in their gullets. Very young babies too, the food seemed to be partially digested and not whole fish like I had seen with the great egrets chicks. So that was different. The anhinga and the cattle egrets still appear to be brooding, no babies to be seen yet. I have not seen any nest with Tri-colored herons, Little Blues or Ibis. I did see all 3 of those birds, just not any on nests. If anyone spots one of those on a nest, please let me know. I found a young great egret in the middle of the path, possibly from last night's storm, no wounds on it so don't think it was due to a sibling. Not able to fly, only a few pin feathers. Had a crisis of conscience, maintain my non interference, let nature take its course, vs figure out how to get it to Rogers. Compromised with placing it on as high a branch as I could in shade close to where I found it. It was able to clasp it well with its feet. Fully realize I probably just postponed the inevitable. I do not know if great egret parents will care for chicks that fall out of the nest too soon like other birds will.
    Kaptured by Kala

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Grand Prairie

    Default Re: Rookery Timeline

    I visited yesterday (5/4). Finally saw a couple of Tricolored Herons, one perched deep inside and one flying in. The perched one didn't appear to be near a nest. Saw dozens of Little Blue Herons, including one immature. I learned that those are white. For a second I thought I had discovered a new species of egret. But didn't see any little blues on nests. No ibis nests either.

    SO MANY Cattle Egrets brooding, but didn't see any chicks yet.

    We did see someone walk past the signs into the woods with a camera, deep enough that we couldn't see him anymore. Called the police and gave a description, but it was time for us to go. As we were driving off, we saw the patrol car pull up to the spot we had reported and an officer get out, so hopefully he was able to track him down. The nerve of some people. Is it really that hard to stay on the path?

  7. #17

    Default Re: Rookery Timeline

    I arrived at the rookery this morning just as the light rain was ending. The anhinga and cattle egrets continue to brood with no sign of nestlings yet. I finally found 2 little blue nests. One seemed to be in the process of building the nest and the other had a parent brooding on it. I saw a large group of adult ibis gathered in the greenery below that tall bare roosting tree that you often see ahningas and other birds perched up high. There were 8 to 10 mature ibis engaged in some activity that had a lot of flapping wings and jumping on other ibis backs. It looked like either a lot of sexual activity or fighting. Had not seen this behavior before, will have to research their breeding season behavior. Unfortunately there were so many branches and leaves that it was impossible to get very clear photos. It was unusual. It looked more like mating than anything else, but done in a group? I am still looking for a tri-colored heron's nest and Ibis nests. I did not see any trespassers. And the odds caught up with me and I finally got reminded why I wear a hat there every time.

    Researched American White Ibis breeding behavior and Wikipedia had the most info which was surprising, wish I could find a second site with this information to verify. Wikipedia said:
    "Although the American white ibis is predominantly monogamous and both sexes provide parental care to their young, the male often flies off to engage in extra pair copulation with other nesting females after mating with its primary female partner. These extra-pair copulations are usually done after the within-pair copulations,[36] and make up about 45% of all total matings, although only about 15% of all extra-pair copulations are successful.[36] By not restricting the number of females it copulates with, the male is able to increase its reproductive success considerably. Although females are receptive towards extra-pair copulations, male mate-guarding greatly reduces the rate of successful female involvement in attempted extra-pair copulations by other males."

    This perhaps explains what I saw.
    Last edited by Kaptured by Kala; 05-18-2016 at 03:39 PM.
    Kaptured by Kala

  8. #18

    Default Re: Rookery Timeline

    Kala and I headed over the morning of May 25th.

    Great Egrets are still around-- chicks are getting VERY large and seem to almost attack parents in order to get food. Saw a few fairly violent struggles where a youngster (or two!) had grasped a parent's beak and the parent really had to work to get loose. The number of Great Egrets is definitely falling.

    Snowy Egrets have chicks. Many still brooding.

    Cattle Egrets are EVERYWHERE. Many brooding. I think some were still building nests. They nest lower than the Greats (whose nests seem to be at least 12' off the ground). Cattle Egrets seem content with nests as low as 4'.

    Black-Crowned Night Herons are no longer shy, but still as calm as ever (comparatively, Cattles are ADHD). Saw many
    chicks in various stages of development -- even a 1st summer.

    Little Blue Herons are fewer in number and nests seem more hidden -- as low as 6' maybe. Saw brooding and one
    cooperative parent stood to reveal blue eggs (and there was much rejoicing).

    Saw no tri-colored-- even where we were sure there had been a nest a month ago. None flying, either.

    White Ibis were around a bit. I mostly saw them flying. We saw one that may be on a nest behind a cattle egret
    nest perhaps 7' off the ground. A few started to gather in an area near the periphery, but we saw no orgy.

    Anhinga are nesting, though nests are very hard to spot. Brooding only, no chicks we could see. Easier to see
    birds from the parking garage roof where we observed a male doing a mating dance.

    Some dead birds hanging from trees....we saw a Great violently pecking at another on the ground. It really looked
    like the attacking bird was killing the other. Kala has seen cats in the area so some chicks definitely are in
    danger. Also saw a juvenile Cooper's Hawk (and possibly a 2nd Coop), so chicks may be in danger from them as well.

    I would be curious to know if the level of comfort with humans with these rookery birds extends to when they
    have left the rookery. Very marked difference in how they act compared to non-rookery egrets and herons (comparing to Heard Museum and LLELA which also have nesting birds).

    My eBird report (with some photos) FWIW:

  9. #19

    Default Re: Rookery Timeline

    I made my weekly visit to the rookery this morning before the rain moved in. I achieved one of my goals today. I have seen all 8 large bird species on their nests and photographed them. Some are difficult to see so not great photos but documentation. Still working on the goal of documenting chicks of all 8 species. I do not go past the tree line of the perimeter.
    1. There are great egrets nests and babies in all stages although less and less each time and more juveniles out of the nest. I no longer see any great egrets brooding.
    2. Some snowies are brooding, many have chicks in the nest and I saw my first juvenile snowy fledgling on the ground today. Got Betsy to help confirm it was a Snowy fledgling and not a little blue.
    3. Several little blues brooding, no sign of chicks. The one that stood up last week showing the blue eggs, did it again today and stood up to change position and there are still blue eggs in there.
    4. There are some black-crowned herons brooding, some with young chicks and lots of juveniles out of the nest.
    5. I finally found the tricolored heron nest and saw at least 3 chicks under the standing parent, older, with pin feathers showing. Wish I had found it earlier, it is a few feet to the left of the anhinga nest and very difficult to see and photograph. Especially in low light like today.
    6. Lots and lots of cattle egrets brooding but for the first time I saw several nests with newly hatched chicks, very young.
    7. On my first pass the male anhinga was sitting on the nest and on my 2nd pass the female was sitting. There are bound to be chicks by now but the parents are keeping them hidden and staying on the nest.
    8. For the first time I finally found 2 ibis nests, both were brooding. On the back side of the rookery across from the first parking garage, after the first little blue nest and before you get to the anhinga. Way back in and only noticed because they each had the red on their face showing. One on either side of that clearing but deep in. Once you spot them, fairly clear path for photos however.
    One additional note, the house finch nests seem to have all fledged, first time in several weeks I didn't hear the loud sound of the babies amplified by the roof of the basketball area. Those nests were inside the wire electrical cages out of sight but really really loud.
    Kaptured by Kala

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Grand Prairie

    Default Re: Rookery Timeline

    I dropped by late Saturday afternoon. Lots of cattle egrets still brooding, lots of chicks. I saw a few little blue herons still sitting on eggs.

    Kala, can you elaborate where you saw that tricolor heron nest? I still haven't seen one. I saw a couple of anhinga nests with chicks, but didn't see any tricolor herons. So maybe we're looking at different nests. Or maybe I just missed the tricolor neighbors.

    In one anhinga nest, there were five chicks. On one pass, the father was feeding them, and on the second pass, the mother was there. Feeding was a violent melee. The chicks shove their heads right down the throat of the parent to get the food. It's a wonder their eyes don't get poked out. I saw this nest from the north corner, past the parking garages, near the clearing where the ibises tend to congregate. Take a few steps west of the ibises, and there is a little window through the trees where you can see the top of the canopy in the distance, I think near the area where the great egrets congregate near the monument.

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