May was a fantastic month for wildlife viewing in San Jose, CA. Many new mothers are out and about collecting insects to take back to the nest or teaching their young how to fend for themselves.
A Female Common Merganser had eight chicks and is doing a great job keeping them all alive. The family can be seen foraging in the dawn and dusk hours along the Guadalupe River at Coleman Avenue. While she keeps her chicks hidden during the day, the mother Mallards let their ducklings forage all day, out in the open.
The Mallard ducklings are exposed to many more predators then the Mergansers. This month I have seen Crows, Seagulls, and Hawks attempt to nab up a Mallard Ducklings. The Mallards usually start out with about seven chicks and each day their numbers dwindle due to predation from other species.
Also spotted among a group of four Killdeer was a SpottedSandpiper. This was my first sighting of this species and I was delighted to see it along the Guadalupe River in downtown San Jose. From a far it looked like a Killdeer chick but suddenly a Crow took a dive at it and the Piper few to safety. That’s when I knew it wasn’t a Killdeer chick and went in for a closer look. The feathery spots on it’s chest look like they have been dabbed on by Bob Ross “And now lets add the Happy little spots”
The swifts and swallows were busy building their nests and could be seen in the same general area day after day catching insects along the river. It is quite challenging to photograph swifts in flight. All the while, spinning my focus ring and attempting to keep the high speed birds in my camera’s frame. They glide along the water searching for insects and when one is spotted they can spin on a dime and snap the insect from the sky. Sometimes the insect is a fast little bugger, then the chase begins. Swifts usually win.
Don’t waste a sunny day. There is much to experience in your Natural world. Keep your ears and eyes open for the vast diversity of life that surrounds you!