Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Head for The Hills

After a full day of rain yesterday I just had to get out somewhere today. Because Will lives up near the hills we decided a run around in a vehicle looking over walls and hedgerows into wader fields might be fruitful. Most of the upland Lapwings have large chicks now but we hoped that the slightly later Oystercatchers and Curlews could have ringable chicks as long as they weren’t too big and able to run faster than our two pairs of much older, slightly dodgy legs.

Up beyond Calder Vale and towards the Bleasdale fells we found a couple of suitable fields where Curlew normally breed; where the ever watchful adults give the game away by flying around excitedly overhead and giving out warning calls to the young at the approach of predators like gulls, crows or humans.



Curlew Country

We found two broods of young, each of four, and managed to find 7 out of 8 as the young scattered and ran. Some had to wait their turn for ringing or to be reunited with parents and siblings, out of harms way from inquisitive dairy cows. It’s hard to believe that these little bundles grow into large Curlews, but then looking at those gigantic feet, maybe not.

Curlew Chick

Curlew Chick

One of the broods had one chick distinctly paler than its siblings, and also it didn’t seem quite as strong or healthy so we chose not to ring this bird before we released them all.

Curlew Chicks

I had checked my nest records on IPMR last night to see that the Whitethroat nest at Rawcliffe Moss should be ready, so we called at the farm to hopefully ring the five young. There were five chicks with wing feathers just poking from the sheaths with their legs nicely developed to adult dimensions, an ideal size at which to ring chicks. The photograph shows just three of them.

Whitethroat Chicks

A Willow Warbler nest last checked on 3rd June still contained warm eggs and a Swallow nest had 5 naked and blind young about 2 days old, so a double visit in 5 days time sounds about right.

Looking west, rain threatened for the afternoon as a flock of about 70 Lapwings took to the air: at this rate it will soon be autumn.


I changed the last header photo of the blog from Scops Owl to a Sparrowhawk portrait, hope you like it.


Paco Sales said...

Que bellas imagenes nos acercas amigo, la de los polluelos son muy tiernas, un abrazo

eileeninmd said...

Wonderful photos of all the birds. I love the Curlew chicks they are so cute. The Lapwing is cool looking, great flight shot!

Pete Woodruff said...

Nice post Phil. The mugshot of the Sparrowhawk is....WOW!!

By the way, to save you the trouble Paco says....Which brings us beautiful pictures friend, the chicks are very young, a hug.

Stu said...

Well, I'd never seen a baby Curlew pic until now.

Handy they don't have the long bill yet, it'd be a nightmare inside the nest...................

Unravel said...

Wow those curlew chicks are huge!
They also have such a weird and huge pair of legs.
You must be very busy during this few weeks since lots and lots of chicks are coming out.

Findlay Wilde said...

I love how long the Curlew chicks legs are. From Findlay

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