Easter Parade #1

Easter is approaching and the shops are full of eggs and endearingly fluffy yellow chicks. Of course, all young animals have that sort of baby creature appeal, but it’s especially so for young birds. I mean, how could anyone resist this cute little shag … ?

Shag chick
Shag chick twists its neck to get a better look at me …


Easter Parade #2 … another wee cutie. This one is officially known as a puffling. All together: “Awwww … ”

(BTW, this was taken just before it was thrown overboard on the journey back from the Isle of May. If they are found wandering round, this is their best chance of survival, away from the island where they would be in danger of getting picked off by gulls)
(taken just before the puffling was thrown overboard on the journey back from the Isle of May. If they are found wandering round, this is their best chance of survival, away from the island where they would be in danger of getting picked off by gulls)


Easter Parade #3 … continuing the theme of baby birds, here’s a young tern — at Isle of May.


Easter Parade #4 … a trio of swallow chicks …


Easter Parade #5

A guillemot chick nestled in on a narrow ledge on the cliffs of the Isle of May.

It’s a precarious place to grow up, and it is also widely believed that the shape of guillemot eggs evolved to stop them falling off cliff edges – but Professor Tim Birkhead from the University of Sheffield says that’s a myth, and that there are a variety of other reasons why guillemot eggs have such a peculiar shape.

One is strength. Guillemot colonies are quite crowded and guillemots “aren’t very good flyers. This means that on a windy day a guillemot’s neighbour can crash land on top of the egg in the nest. The egg needs to be particularly strong so that it doesn’t get crushed.” (goo.gl/SCs9mz)


Easter Parade #6 – look what the stork brought …


Easter Parade #7 – Eider duckling …


Easter Parade #8 – cygnet parade


Easter Parade #9 – Kittiwake chick, Isle of May


Easter Parade #10 – is a bit of mystery. Still with those sticking out feathers that you get on many young birds, this chick was hopping about a tree in Norway. It was not great at flying, but looked as though it could make it back up to a nest if it tried hard enough. What was it? Difficult to say for sure – probably a thrush of some description, but if anyone has other ideas or can be more definite, I’d be interested to hear what you think …


Easter Parade #11 – some young birds are easier to photograph than others. The ones that are quick to take to the water, for example, or those who build nests on buildings or on the ground. Therefore, I’m going to give some of them another turn; and the first one is …

another tern …


Easter Parade #12  – more birds outside our back door.

We often have a nest built under the overhang above the narrow yard between our back door and the washhouse. The first picture is a chick in the nest. When the birds venture out of the nest, they sit on an iron bar that is about a foot above our heads as we go to and fro. The next photo is four of them sitting on the bar.


Easter Parade #13 

When I looked up “baby gulls” in Google, up popped the result:
People also ask “Why do you never see baby seagulls?”
Pedantry aside (for the aside, see below), it’s true that baby gulls are rarely seen. This is because they nest on islands and other isolated spots away from predators; they are normally quite mature before they leave the nest; and they stay close to it until they get their primary feathers; which is when they appear as juveniles on our beaches and around our harbours (and increasingly it seems, in many others places that aren’t that near to the sea).
So if you want to see baby gulls, you need to take a trip to somewhere like the Isle of May, which is where these photographs were taken …
(Pedantry corner: Seagull is not an actual species or family of birds, and depending where you are in the world, it is used generically, not only for gulls, but also sometimes other seabirds)


Easter Parade #14 – Hiding in amongst the bushes at the side of a lake, I think these chicks are young coots, but having checked identification notes from RSPB and BTO, they can be hard to distinguish from young moorhen …


Easter Parade #15 – Just to show you that not all shag chicks look quite as gawky as the one that began this post, here are another two. Still a bit gawky, though.


Easter Parade #16 – Another with cygnets. This pair look as if they are pretending to swim, although they are actually in their depth and walking on the bottom of the lake – a technique that I am sure is familiar to many of us.


Easter Parade #17 – even ducklings sometimes have an itch that they just need to scratch …


Easter Parade #18 – and to finish off the Easter parade, here are some more traditional chicken chicks, wandering free range in the town of Viñales, Cuba (for some reason, I don’t have any such free range photos taken closer to home).


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