Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 204 - Curlew

The Curlew (Numenius arquata) is the largest wader in Europe, and its call is one of the most distinctive.  Breeding on the upland moors and pastures of the UK, you know you are somewhere wild when you hear its call.  This was one of the birds I was most looking forward to seeing when I went to Orkney.

With a wingspan of about 90cm and females weighing in at about 1 kg they are an impressive bird.  I could have watched them for ages - and given the number of pictures I took, I may have done!

The wet flower rich pastures of South Ronaldsay (one of the many islands of Orkney) are a bit of a window back into the pre-chemical / pre-industrial era of farming.  Birds like the Curlew have suffered marked declines in recent years and it was great to be to watch some.  It was even better to see that some were breeding - even if the chick did stay a long way away.  As we were watching these birds the adults were doing some form of 'distraction display' - attempting to draw us away from the chick.  I have to say it was rather comical.












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37 comments:

Brian King said...

I've always liked the long, slender bills on these birds! Very handsome waders!

NatureFootstep said...

one of my favorite birds. It is amazing how it can live with that beak :) Great shots. Thanks for sharing :)

Frank Boxell said...

I'm pleased you were able to see evidence of breeding of this iconic wader as the population has declined 46% between 1994 - 2010 in the UK.

Silver Parrot said...

These birds are quite common here, but I've yet to see a juvenile so thanks for sharing that. Great shots of all!

Gunilla Bäck said...

What a great sighting! The chick is so cute.

Nette Cecilia said...

Great photos ,nette

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Stewart, they are impressive birds. Wonderful series of photos. Thanks for hosting.
Have a happy day and week ahead!

Kristi Bowman said...

Great looking birds, hope to see one some day!!

Jo said...

So impressive and so perfectly patterned. Thanks for sharing. And thank you too, Stewart, for hosting this meme. My bird today also has quite a long and decurved bill. Greetings Jo

Breathtaking said...

Hello Stewart!:) Beautiful captures of the Curlew and cute chick amongst the wild flowers. Thank you for hosting.:)

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

Nice shots.

They are fun to watch along the shore here.

Joyful said...

Terrific photos. I think I saw one of these a few weeks ago but no way could I get these kind of photos. The bird was quite far away. I snapped some far away shots anyway. Have a lovely rest of your week.

Linda W. said...

Wow - look at the size of that beak! Great photos.

mick said...

Really nice looking birds and very interesting to compare them with the ones we see out here in Aus.

Phil Slade said...

I agree Stewart. The Curlew distraction display is rather comical to a birded in the know. To many people and probably predators it is very effective.

Phil Slade said...

I agree Stewart. The Curlew distraction display is rather comical to a birded in the know. To many people and probably predators it is very effective.

Ranten said...

Lovely pictures! Vish you a happy sommer! Marit

HOOTIN ANNI said...

They are impressive birds...we have them here, and I never tire of watching them and photographing them.

Gayle atMuldoon said...

The little one popping up in the middle was a treat.

June Caedmon said...

What a neat bird, Stewart! and great shot of the baby! Have a wonder-filled week!

TexWisGirl said...

fine shots!

diane b said...

That must have been fun to watch. They sure have a big handle at the front.

pattisjarrett said...

Distraction displays can be downright comical. They don't know that we have them figured out! LOL It's nice to know there are still places where chemicals have yet to affect them. Glad to hear their numbers are coming back. It's a delicate balance, isn't it?

Margaret Adamson said...

great post Stewart and thanks for hostig. Fabulous series of shots of the Curlew.

bettyl-NZ said...

These are such gorgeous birds. I love your photos.

Adam Jones said...

They are fabulous birds, and one that I am fortunate to have on my patch. They nest on a disused airfield on the outskirts of Greater Manchester, and they're one of the best things about the summer there. Like you, I could and do spend ages watching them.

Denise inVA said...

Great photos of this very interesting bird Stewart. Thanks for the visit, especially as I know how busy you are.

Kenneth Cole Schneider said...

Wonderful images of the Curlew! Coincidentally, I got my first photo of one only this past week, while exploring the Badlands of South Dakota. Although I have seen many in the past while living in Texas and New Mexico, they rarely come to south Florida since I started photographing wildlife eight years ago. Arrived back last night with over 2000 photos to review and sort out!

photodoug said...

Stewart, great captures of this amazing bird. Thanks for sharing.

Marie C said...

Fantastic photos, Stewart! What a great encounter. Sorry I have been away so long!

Findlay Wilde said...

Fantastic images. Really enjoyed them. Sorry I haven't joined in this week, but my blog was about the EU and not so much about birds.

Missy George said...

Great pictures..Glad that their numbers are growing..SHe looks a little disturbed by your presence...Enjoy the rest of the week..

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

I've never seen a curlew -- really enjoyed these beautiful photos. Great beak!

Dave Lewis said...

Great shots Stewart! I'll bet I could wade deeper than them...

Vineeta Yashswi said...

Really great shots...

A Quiet Corner said...

Crystal clear photos of them, Stewart, making future identification easier for folks like me!...)JP

Andrea Priebe said...

The Curlew is an impressive bird and I would love to hear it's call. The Killdear are famous for their 'broken wing" display to draw a predator away from the young ... too bad you couldn't video tape the Curlew display and their call. Maybe I will go to YouTube and see if I can find one. Your pictures are awesome and you did manage to capture a rather sizable baby. I love the idea of pre-chemical times. We have done so much damage and continue to do so even knowing what it is causing. Our biggest and latest issue is the diminished honey bee population. No bees, no produce, but they continue to use the offending chemical ... go figure. Well, had to come see you even though I am bogged done with many other things ... this is my nice break :) Be well, Stewart ...

Andra @ From The Sol