Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Wader Worries

Today I took a drive in the direction of Cockerham where a few wader chicks would be ready for ringing. There might be wader chicks at Conder Pool too, mostly Avocets, but Conder is another ringer’s domain. Ringers operate within geographical areas and specific sites so as not to tread on the toes of others or to complicate the wider ringing scheme. 

I found a brood of 3 Lapwing chicks alongside a ditch where they had become a little wet through feeding in the waterside grass. All three were of a good size, probably too big for avian predators, and therefore they should reach adulthood. 

Lapwing chick
Meanwhile a pair of Oystercatchers had just one fairly big youngster left from the original hatch with this single survivor also big enough to flourish; how and when the siblings vanished must remain a mystery. 

Another pair of Oystercatchers had two youngsters, the whole group so far out in a large field as to make them almost impossible to approach. I made a mental note to leave them for another day when they might be closer. 

There was a single Little Egret today, along with 3 young Grey Herons still sporting their stripy neck and chest markings. Two pair of Tufted Ducks remained wary as hell and undecided if to fly, drift upstream or hang around. They flew. A single Buzzard flushed from the base of a tree, most unusual – probably it had found carrion. 

Grey Heron
A Roe Deer stared me out for fifteen seconds, a humanoid head in a car window, but then it figured out the puzzle, leapt the fence and bounded off over the fields. 

Roe Deer
At Conder most of the chicks on view were those of Avocets with just one pair of Oystercatchers and two young. I watched the Avocets chase away any waders that got too close to their chicks, Redshanks, Little Ringed Plovers and Oystercatchers all had a dose of the Avocets’ aggressive ways. 

Avocets are the frauds of wader world. They trade on their photogenic looks, the striking black & white, the gentle sweep of that shiny upturned bill and the trendy long grey legs. Fluffy little chicks with a tiny copy-bill. Butter wouldn’t melt in their innocents as they pose for the next photo to a phalanx of birders carrying the latest photo gear. All together now - “aaaah”! 

My friends, be warned. Avocets are the bullies of the bird world, con merchants in the pay of the RSPB so as to flog binoculars and telescopes to unsuspecting punters. Quite soon you will tap your credit card onto the machine at Minsmere or Leighton Moss. 

See what I mean? 


Don't say you haven't been warned!

Linking this weekend to  Eileen's Blogspot and Anni in Texas.



Angie said...

Phil - on that young oystercatcher, it looks as though the rest of the body is trying to catch up to the beak! Yes, I think you are spot on about the Avocets, especially when a young one is lingering underfoot. Aaaahhhh ...

Mike Attwood said...

You have just destroyed my love of the avocet. I now have a totally different opinion of this beautiful bird. But I will accept the warning.
Stay safe.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil,

I love all the adorable chicks! The Lapwing is one of my favorite birds, I wish I could see them here. The Avocets are lovely, I wouldn't mind sharing them with other birders. I think all the birds protect their young. Awesome photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a happy weekend!

Shiju Sugunan said...

Such lovely photographs! Nice to read about the Avocets, wonder how they operate with that upturned bill.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

The deer was a neat sighting and I love the new banner photo! Enjoy your weekend!

Adam Jones said...

Your Roe Deer sighting is so similar to most of mine. You get that momentary stare off and then the bolt for cover. Very true about the Avocet too. They could reduce the stress levels by maybe staying a little closer to their young, rather than letting them wander free on their own. Glad you got some young to ring. Fingers crossed for them all.

Anni said...

I I'd love to goon a ringing excursion with you and just sit back at watch the whole procedure. Must be thrilling (and yes, work). I don't think I would ever be bored. Wonderful photos as always and fantastic saga told.

Thanks, as always, for taking time out to share with us and link in!!

Wally Jones said...

How refreshing it is to be reading "normal" posts once again!

I remain jealous of the Lapwing images since I have never seen one.

Avocets. They are akin to movie star celebrities. Good looking. Attract crowds of human wanna-be nature photographers. Useful for selling merchandise.

Here in Florida, in addition to the "awwww"-inspiring Avocets, the Audubon Society has planted the Flamingo look-alike, Roseate Spoonbills. Find a traffic jam on a wildlife refuge road and one will likely find a spoonbill mugging for big lenses.

Summer begins in a week and our weather is getting an early start on the season. Hot and daily thunderstorms. We love it!

Take good care, Sir Phil.

Rain said...

Hi Phil :) Despite being a bully, the Avocet is gorgeous! I love the photo of that Oystercatcher, it's so sweet looking! Lovely capture of the Roe Deer! I hope you've been well Phil and are enjoying the summer! :)

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

lapwings are beautiful birds

NCSue said...

Marvelous images! Love these! And I hate to put my ignorance on full display, but what is the bird at the top of your page? It's really a fascinating fellow.
Thanks for sharing at

Villrose said...

Lovely birds and photos!
Oh! Those Avocets!

Photo Cache said...

Lovely photos.

Worth a Thousand Words

Fun60 said...

I think the avocets have set their sights on me. I want to seek them out for a closer look.

Lowcarb team member said...

I do like your new header photograph.
I enjoyed seeing all of your photographs, but nice to see the deer, love how it's looking at you.

All the best Jan

Veronica Lee said...

Fascinating to read about the Avocets.

Love that fabulous capture of the Roe Deer.

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