Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Watching Brief

Here’s a short update from a quiet walk over Pilling way today. It’s brief again because of the season of the year, when nothing much seems to happen on the migration front while birds go about their summer business. 

At Lane Ends there are still 2+ Little Grebe, 2 singing Reed Warbler, one singing Blackcap and a secretive Jay in the plantation, with singing Reed Bunting and Willow Warbler now at Pilling Water, almost certainly not the Lane Ends birds of late. Corn Buntings are now represented by 3+ birds showing all the signs of territorial behaviour which could be a blunder if the farmer cuts his silage any day soon. Other passerines noted, Lane Ends to Fluke via Pilling Water: 18 Skylark including fledged but scattered youngsters being fed by adults, 8 Goldfinch, 3 Pied Wagtail, 5 Meadow Pipit, 4 Whitethroat, 6 Greenfinch. 

Meadow Pipit

I took a stab at counting the post breeding waders, including any obvious and frequently distant youngsters; 18 Oystercatcher, 45 Lapwing, 22 Redshank, 6 Curlew. 

Scientists say we shouldn’t write about birds in an anthropomorphic way, but when in the breeding season I watch the adults of wading birds, Lapwings, but particularly Redshank and Oystercatcher, I am struck by behaviour that we humans recognise as good parenting skills: keeping a permanent watch on their offspring, immediately warning the minors of potential danger, and if necessary intervening on the youngsters behalf if they are in danger. Before “bringing up baby” there are the less obvious things to consider, meeting up with a good partner and then finding a safe place to build a nest and hatch their eggs, so as to be able to raise their young to the point of independence. Of course, most bird species only need look out for their offspring for a week or two, unlike us humans where the timescale is now more like twenty-five or thirty years.

The adult Oystercatcher yelled to the couple of chicks not far away when it saw me peering from the car window. I’ll allow readers to imagine what the Oystercatcher might be shouting. 

Oystercatcher

Oystercatcher

The guardian Redshank is less frantic but still watchful, the picture spoiled by the sun directly behind, illuminating right through the bird’s legs. 

Redshank

Lapwings, which breed a little earlier than Redshanks and Oystercatchers have now mostly given up on parenting and instead joined in with post-breeding groups of birds. There’s just an occasional bird warning now large young to stay hidden, even though the youngsters are well able to fly. 

  Lapwing

Stay tuned, more soon on Another Bird Blog.

21 comments:

Kay L. Davies said...

I love the lapwing, Phil, and I remember how delighted I was the first time I saw an oyster catcher.
But I don't think the photo of the redshank is spoiled at all. I think it is enhanced by the sun which emphasizes the legs which give it its name.
K

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

You really have a wide variety of birds around you! Love them all!!

Modesto Viegas said...

Great post!!!

Gary said...

Beautiful series!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

EG CameraGirl said...

It's difficult NOT to write about birds in an anthropomorphic way, for sure. After all, we are human and see life through human eyes.

I love the way the red legs were photographed. :)

Andrew said...

Fantastic images and an interesting read..

mick said...

I enjoyed your anthropomorphic comments and the photos of the shorebirds - especially the oystercatcher - are great.

Adam Jones said...

Really like the Redshank Phil. The sunlight making the legs almost transparent. Great stuff.

HansHB said...

Lovely to see this post, - perfect for WBW!

eileeninmd said...

Great day, Phil! The Redshank has beautiful colorful legs. Love the oystercatcher shots, they are cool birds. The Lapwing is my favorite bird and photos. Great post, I enjoyed all the birds. Happy Birding!

Dina said...

Interesting birds. I've never seen a redshank before. I thought that oystercatcher looked a little different. I guess it's just a tiny bit different than our american one.

Russell said...

Wonderful photosgraphs. Really like the oystercatcher shots and the one with the sun from behind is just great. Looks like a nice birdwathing season to me.

Stewart M said...

Not too much difficulty in working out how the redshank got its name!

Great set of shots.

Stewart M - Australia

Hilke Breder said...

Those legs look like they could glow in the dark - just beautiful! I recently wrote a post about American Oystercatchers. Their parenting continues for a couple of months since they have to teach their chicks how open bivalves.

Adam Tilt said...

Super post Phil. I certainly know what you mean when it comes to identifying human traits in birds.

Kathie Brown said...

Wonderful information and photos! I do not think your photo of the redshank is spoiled, it is perfect with the sun shining through the legs! The oystercatchers are just comical. They look like clowns to me!

Snap said...

Love the oyster catcher. Love the shore birds ... such fun to watch! Lovely series.

Amy Burzese said...

Great shots!

Anni said...

Beautiful birds Phil!!

kiskadee & more

Jane said...

I love Oystercatchers, hear them flying over the house sometimes, had lots of them when we lived on the West Coast. We have a lot of Curlews here as well, great captures!

Amy Burzese said...

Thanks for all your bird shots. I enjoy seeing them and the identification.

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