July 2015 Fledging (page 1 of 2)
1. As the chicks in the neighborhood get older, we see some very interesting hairstyles. As their baby fuzz disappears, we see aging old men, Captain Kirk look alike, Friar Tucks, and old Elvis.
2. This month we have seen several fledgings. This is when the chick makes its first flight, leaving the island for 3-4 years before returning to land. He will sleep on the water and not touch land again until he returns.
This chick, nicknamed Vinny, senses that there is a good launching site on this property. He rounds the corner to reach a flat lanai.
3. Vinny grew up in a yard up the street, so he has never seen the ocean before today. By instinct he knows he needs to be here by the sea. He takes several test hops and stretches out his wings in the wind coming from the east.
4. Vinny leapt off the edge of the lanai so fast, I didn’t have time to frame the first shot. You can see him in the lower left as he makes his leap. The rocks and water below are 170 feet down. He is launching off the equivalent of a 15 story building, with no net.
5. Vinny now gains altitude and makes his turn towards the open water. It is hard to believe he has never flown before this date. He looks like a pro.
6. Vinny heads out to sea. He flies over the horizon to start his new life. Tonight, he will land on water for the first time to sleep. Then he will continue his journey to find the fishing grounds, by instinct. Until now he has been fed regurgitated seafood, so he has no idea what squid and other fish look like in their live state. He has to find and catch on his own.
Continued on page 2