Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sunday Surprises

I don’t ring many Lapwings nowadays. The species is so scarce in this part of coastal Lancashire that finding a brood of young Lapwings is something of a surprise and an occasion to boot. 

On the outskirts of Cockerham this morning I found 2 pairs of Lapwings and both had two youngsters each. So once the female had sent the chicks off to feed I located them quickly because the field was so close-cropped. 


Lapwing chicks

Lapwing chicks are nidifugous i.e.animals which leave the nest shortly after hatching or birth, a term derived from Latin nidus for "nest" and fugere meaning "to flee". The terminology is most often used to describe birds and was introduced by Lorenz Oken in 1816. The term "nidifugous" is sometimes used synonymously with "precocial", as all nidifugous species are precocial - that is, born with open eyes and capable of independent locomotion, and in the case of waders, able to feed themselves soon after birth. (Wiki).

In wader chicks the legs and feet are well developed at a very early stage, a natural adaptation which helps their early locomotion and thus the ability to find their own food. 

There were 4 Mistle Thrushes, a family party feeding in the same field as the Lapwings. It’s a pretty poor picture but then Mistle Thrushes are generally as shy as the rest of the thrush family. 

 Mistle Thrush

Alongside the nearby wood was a Willow Warbler nest with just 3 young, one of which had recently died, the small and poor brood almost certainly a result of the recent weather. 

Willow Warbler chick

It’s something of a wildfowlers’ wood and one that is not without the remnants of last autumn’s shoots by way of a good number of Pheasants. There was also a Reeve’s Pheasant today, a rather good looking and photogenic creature which made a nice change from our ubiquitous Pheasant. 

Reeve's Pheasant 

The Reeves's Pheasant (Syrmaticus reevesii) is a pheasant of the genus Syrmaticus. It is endemic to China. It is named for the British naturalist John Reeves, who first introduced live specimens to Europe in 1831. 
This pheasant is kept as an ornamental species, easily reared in captivity by placing eggs under domestic chickens or by buying adult birds. As always happens in such cases a certain number escape from captivity and breed in such numbers that a feral population becomes established. Reeve’s Pheasant is not on the main British List which birders use to count their ticks as the feral population is so small it is not yet recognised as being self-sustaining. 

Nevertheless they seem to be becoming increasingly easy to find in the Norfolk Brecks where they are targeted by rather sad twitchers. There are a number of other locations around the country where this species seems to be gaining a foothold, so perhaps it won't be long before they are recognised as a “British Bird”. 

In the meantime if you have a broody chicken or two and fancy having a Reeve’s Pheasant in the back garden, eggs guaranteed to hatch are available through Ebay. Alternatively by rearing a few, releasing them onto a private estate and then charging twitchers ten quid a time could generate a tidy sum towards that new camera. 

A male Pied Wagtail carrying food wasn’t unexpected but it gave the pheasant a slice of competition in the good looks department. 

Pied Wagtail

There were no more surprises this morning. But you never know, there could be more soon on Another Bird Blog so keep looking in.

Linking this post to  Stewart's World Bird Wednesday.


eileeninmd said...

Wow, the Lapwing chicks so cute and amazing. They get kicked out kind of quickly. The Listle Thursh is a pretty bird, I like it's spotted breast. The pheasant is gorgeous, sad it is not native. The Wagtail is a pretty bird too. Great photos and post. Happy Birding!

Vandana Sharma said...

The lill chicks are adorable:)

TexWisGirl said...

the lapwing chicks are adorable, but that pheasant stole the show!!

Linda said...

Beautiful series, Phil, and the Lapwings are adorable! :)

David Gascoigne said...

I have never seen a Reeve's Pheasant so I really hope I stumble across one when I visit the UK next month. Whether it is tickable or not is entirely immaterial to me.

Hannah said...

I am enthralled by the lapwing chicks, so cute, I'm trying to imagine raising them like baby chicks.

Margaret Adamson said...

The Lapwing chicks ar gorgeous. I saw a youngone running aroundon Tory Island when I was then recently. I have never seen that Pheasant before.

Stuart Price said...

I noticed there weren't so many lapwings on my side of the Ribble this year...that and several other species too.

Mama Zen said...

The pheasant is gorgeous!


That pheasant is soooooooooo beautiful!!!!

And your ringing success story made me smile! Adorable chicks to boot!!

carol l mckenna said...

Wonderful shots! Love the baby chicks and Mom ~ beautiful photography!

Happy Week to you,
artmusedog and carol

Adam Jones said...

I love the young Lapwings. They are having a hard time. Hopefully these ones will go on and reverse and sad trend.

Harley Wilde said...

I really like those Lapwing chicks

mick said...

I always enjoy the birds you show "in the hand" and of course the lapwing chicks are extra cute. That pheasant is beautiful. Are the other more common pheasants natives to Britain or were they imported at some time also?

Silver Parrot said...

Those chicks are just darling! What an amazing collection of birds you found that day.

Adam Tilt said...

Good to see some Lapwing success and I'm off to ebay right now to start making my fortune.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Sweet little fuzz balls. Abd I always like seeing the lapwings .. So different (for us over here). That was ver interesting about the ni .. Well, the early nest leavers... (Can't see the post as I comment, no idea how to spell it; But I'm going back to study it again. )

Russell Jenkins said...

Love the lapwing chicks, Phil and that is a magnificent looking pheasant. Typical the introduced species fair better than the native or local species.

Dave said...

Very informative post, and no I have never Twitched or for that matter seen a Reeves Pheasant. I did have a Golden Pheasant walk close by to the garden here in East Cheshire at 05.00 am while driving to work.

I am fairly lucky here with breeding Lapwings that is until now where the council have given the go ahead to build a bypass right through the green belt of Woodford Airfield where they breed..... sad times


Marie C said...

The lapwing and her chicks are just wonderful to see and read about! I also enjoyed the photo and info on the Reeve's pheasant! Great post!

Neil said...

Interesting series.

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