Thursday, 21 June 2012

Avocets in Action

Don't you just love Avocets? When I was a boy Avocets were extremely rare and the only breeding site in the UK was at Havergate Island, bought by the RSPB in 1948. The warden was Reg Partridge. Now they are common breeders around our coast almost to the detriment of our other breeding waders as they are very aggressive and territorial. I remember reading an entry by Mark Golley in the Cley log in Arkwright's Cafe about 20 years ago, bemoaning the fact that there were not many birds around, which simply said "the Avocet mono-culture has taken over".

We were spending a few days at Blakeney and called in at Cley and Salthouse to see what was about. At Salthouse there was an Avocet asleep in a pool next to a footpath. I was wondering how close I might get when I noticed a couple walking along the footpath, passing within 10 yards of the bird without it even waking up. So with camera in hand I proceeded along the footpath. I managed to get within about 10 yards when the bird woke up and started to feed, sometimes coming even closer.

As I edged my way along the path following the Avocet as it fed there was a strident "peep,peep,peep" just yards to my left. I looked down and there, almost at my feet, was an Avocet sitting on her nest just inches from the path. She did not leave the nest but was just warning me of her presence.

Meanwhile at Cley there were lots of Avocet chicks running round. I have never quite understood how they manage to survive when there are so many Marsh Harriers floating around.

And who could resist a couple of flight shots of these superb birds?

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