Thursday, June 14, 2018

The First Sets of Fledglings Are Off the Nest! Plus the Kitten in the Storm Drain.

A fledgling Mourning Dove waits on the fence while Mom eats in the feeding area.  Why? Because when Mom eats she then regurgitates the food to feed Junior.  Plus Junior learns the ropes in the meantime about how to feed himself for the day when Mom and Dad go back to the nest for the second brood of the season.
Heads up!  There goes Mom.  Or is it Dad?

The Robin fledglings have begun to come off the nest so Dad is having a busy time feeding them.
And I have been having a busy and frustrating couple of days attempting to get a picture of the Robin fledgling in the staging area.  See Junior down center?  Around here, he and his brethren spend the first few days off the nest standing on the compost pile in the clear chirping for dinner in clear view so Dad won't miss them.  It is sort of a "Here I Am" runway.  When I show up to take their photograph they high tail it back into the foliage for the safety of invisibility.  It has taken me literally days to get the drop on a fledgling in the clear to take a photograph.  Finally... got 'em!

When I turn after finally getiing a fledgling Robin picture...  and it is "a" picture, no reshoots possible with these guys.

A bit later when I go out to pick this years  particularly abundant strawberry crop, I note that the neighbors are all looking down the storm drain on the other side of the street.

Quite odd.  Not at all usual as you might suspect. A fascinating storm drain?

The kids start calling to me...Donna, DONNA!  There's a kitten down the drain.  Oh boy, this doesn't sound good at all.

I go over.  

We all stare at the extremely heavy butch drain cover.  It seems the kitten has disappeared into  a hole in the concrete above the big pipe that drains the rain during gully washers.  Beneath the the big pipe is several feet of water.  How did kitten manage to get into the little cave above without drowning in the first place?

It is decided that the big extremely heavy steel drain cover must be removed in order to do anything for kitten.  Is it removable?  Is it locked into place somehow?  Can it be removed without special equipment?  Kitten meows pitifully from inside her little cave overlooking the several feet of water.

Two of the men who have gravitated to our 
little-tragedy-waiting-to-happen grab hold of the extremely heavy drain cover and scoot it off the concrete hole in the gutter onto the road.   Ooooboy not a good place for a kitten AT  ALL.

The men discuss just how long kitten's cave or tunnel, depending, might be?  The women discuss how to get kitten out of the tunnel.  We decide food is the obvious lure.  I head back across the street for cat food.  While thinking on that, it occurs to me that I have a live trap which we could put in the hole with cat food in it, jerry rig some way for the entrance of the trap to be abutted to the kitty tunnel kitten is hiding in some how and hope kitten is hungry enough to come out of her tunnel to eat and be safely trapped.

Sounds a little pipe dreamy doesn't it? What can I say? It was the best we could do in the moment.

In the meantime....

I think this is how it happened as remember, I am across the street getting supplies... a guy who maybe works for the township sees all these people staring into an open drain hole where a big heavy grate is supposed to be.

He stops his car and gets out.

The group explains the emergency. I understand that he did not seem particularly impressed.  He may have been more interested in the fact we were taking apart city property...

Eventually, he has enough of the whole thing, stretches down, squinshes around, sticks his arm into the kitten tunnel and pulls kitten out.


I appear at this point, and there in the neighbor woman's hand is a tiny kitten, too young to even eat solid food.  But a very brave, very dirty beautiful kitten with longish peachy fur and big blue kitten eyes.  

Donegal Browne.