Sunday, 7 June 2015

Oystercatcher chicks

Remember the oystercatcher nest on the wall? Well, a few days ago they hatched and jumped down (I'd love to have seen that!) and are now happily padding about in a damp field amongst sheep and soft-rush where there will be lots of worms and other invertebrates for them to eat. 

One of the chicks, can you see her to the right of the adult, is peering out from among the marsh marigolds. That brown lump to the right of the big tussock could be another chick but I think it is just sheep poo, which hiding chicks do a very good impression of! 

Their little wing feathers (below left) are as yet still encased in the growing waxy pin. Soon the tips of the primaries will burst out of the quills as seen here on a nēnē gosling (below right) on a brilliant blog from Hawi'i.

Already that beak is a-growing although it will be some weeks before they look like "a black and white bird with a carrot in its mouth" as a small boy once described it! These chicks do need a pinch of luck though as any number of predators would glad have them for tea if they could so fingers crossed.