Saturday, December 29, 2007

Shiv & Uma blessed with a baby

Yes, that is how I have named the skua pair. One egg has hatched; the other is still under Uma's warmth waiting to hatch. News came a couple of days ago, but I could manage to go to that area yesterday only. Once I was in that area Shiv made a few sorties in the air to investigate and warn me. I normally keep away so as to not disturb them, particularly Uma whose body warmth is so essential for the nest. From a distance without alarming them I could manage to see white head of the newly born chick with black bill and eyes protruding underneath Uma's belly. Since I have now a powerful zoom, I could manage some good shots. Shiv was in the background making noises all this while. Suddenly I saw that Uma also stood up on her legs exposing the chick and making shrill calls, and before I could realize what was happening she was airborne. I realized it soon enough when I saw Shiv and Uma chasing another pair of skua which had intruded into their airspace posing a threat to their nest. She could trust me to leave her chick fully exposed to fight the threatening intruders. Within a few minutes they had successfully chased away the intruders and came back to the nest. The scene of the reunion of the three in the nest was so touching with Shiv and Uma spreading their wings touching each other and giving very reassuring calls to the young one. I was very lucky with my reflexes to start my Sony as well as Canon on time to capture live footage of the nest, dogfights in the air, and the reunion. That was perhaps the best Christmas gift I could have asked for.

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