Baby wading birds
Summer is a time when many birdwatchers turn their attention to other matters, such as orchids, butterflies, dragonflies and family holidays (see James Lowen’s section on Page 12 for more on this). But it is also a time when there are baby birds around. Cute cygnets, ducklings, young Moorhens and grebes are out on the water. Speckled tailless Blackbirds are on the lawn, with yellow-washed Blue and Great Tits in the trees above. Our breeding waders also have some delightful babies, which are usually up and running almost as soon as they hatch, so have disproportionately long legs and strong bills, to help them feed themselves almost from the off. Baby waders often look like mini- almost cartoon-versions of their parents, having stumpy models of the adults’ bills. For instance, baby Avocets have a tell-tale upturn to the bill, baby Oystercatchers have a long straight peg bill and baby Curlews have a slight down curve to their little beak. They also often have fluffy plumage which echoes that of the parents. For instance, baby Lapwings have a black breast band and white collar and even a sort of crest, and baby Oystercatchers are ‘black and white’. So, make sure you look out for these delightful baby birds (from a distance, of course), this month.