I'd seen purple martins before, at Oyster Bay; always in the far distance, swooping high above the water. Today, I saw them for the first time from close enough to see their eyes. And their hungry chicks!
|One set of boxes, right beside the highway at Stories Beach. Very busy. I could hear the babies calling inside their nests.|
|At a second pair of nest boxes, two chicks sat with their heads out. The wire arch overhead probably protects them from diving eagles and crows.|
|The box immediately above the chicks. The male is iridescent purple, with brown wings. The female, half hidden to the left, is paler, brownish. She has a light belly with large, dark spots.|
|Two chicks below, brilliant male above. All the time I waited there, the adults veered off as they approached the lower box. I think I was too close for their comfort, huddled in front of my car at the side of the road.The chicks were not pleased.|
|Sign beside the nest site.|
Paragraph 4, from the sign reads, "The installation of nest boxes in artificial "snags" creates nesting cavities for the ongoing recovery of native birds along this beach, such as the Purple Martin, a species at risk (blue-listed).
I had set up the camera with the lens I use for insects and tiny flowers; these nests were at the limit of its possibilities. And the pocket camera, which does zoom, was sitting at home on my desk. Such is life.