A Rocky Killdeer Nest

Santa Ynez River swimming summerSanta Ynez River

Long days on the river.

Six. Seven. Eight hour sessions.

The sun.

The wind.

The sweet mineral scent of the cool emerald water.

Jet airliners soar over the Santa Ynez Mountains trackless and silent through the depthless blue, their bellies glowing hot white in the blast of sunlight reflected off the top of the fog blanket lying unseen along the coast, over on the Otherside.

killdeer eggs nest rocks santa ynez river Santa BarbaraFour killdeer eggs.

On one of these days not long ago it became evident that I should explore a gravel bar along the far side of the river.

Long, wide swaths of gravel was spread neatly like a Japanese rock garden between tufts of mulefat and cottonwood saplings and clumps of young willow.

Nothing out of the ordinary caught my attention over there, where it was dry and hot.

There was no apparent reason to walk over yonder for a wander, which of course may just be the perfect reason in itself.

You just never know what’s in that box of chocolates out there.

I found myself hobbling barefoot along the searing hot gravel bar in mid-afternoon motivated by whatever to go look somewhere for something or. . . whatever.

I walked up on a killdeer nest, which is, as evident, a generous description for the egg bed.

Although the eggs were in plain sight in an open setting they were hard to see from any distance.

I hadn’t seen the eggs until I was looming over them about to crush them under foot.

When I came back with the kids the eggs disappeared in the rocks even when I knew they were right there somewhere in front of me. The camouflage was brilliant, my brain easily tricked.

Two eggs disappeared since we first found the clutch about a week ago. No shell fragments have been found. No babies have been seen. The parents still tend to the remaining two eggs.

killdeer eggs nest rock santa ynez river Santa Barbara

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13 Responses to A Rocky Killdeer Nest

  1. Sounds like your enjoying your summer. Glad your posts are appearing more frequently. As always I usually learn something new and look forward to the next one.

  2. Erik says:

    Jack do you write poetry? Often felt like I was reading poetry in your posts.

    The Other Side

    Long days on the river
    Six seven eight hour sessions
    The sun
    The wind
    Sweet mineral scent of the cool emerald water
    Jetliners soar over Santa Ynez Mountains
    Trackless silent through depthless blue
    Bellies glowing hot white in the blast of sunlight thrown reflected off the fog blanket
    All laying unseen along the coast over on the other side

    by Jack Ellliot

  3. Okay, so a ‘killdeer’ is obviously a bird – thought you’d have included a photo so’s we can see what it looks like though? We certainly don’t have them here! I’ll go and google it…

  4. I am fond of the killdeer, always remind me of sea birds… beautiful eggs, beautiful post…

  5. Lila Henry says:

    Lovely post. Great description of being drawn to something and knowing enough to follow being drawn – to who knows what? The eggs are phenomenal. Thanks!

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