July 19th continued......
Black-tailed Godwit & Ruff Mediterranean Gull and juvenile Avocet preening
Little Ringed Plover Little Egret Spoonbills
Avocet territorial behaviour and the reason-chicks
At Cley, a look from the ‘middle hides’ found much the same species in terms of waders and relative density of waders as found at Titchwell, although a summer plumaged Knot, 2 Golden Plover and 2 Green Sandpipers were extra additions to the wader fauna at Cley.
Three Spoonbills were also present, but when at another of the hides it was noticed that only one Spoonbill was present. It was likely that the other two had flown off, but also likely that they were feeding elsewhere and elsewhere maybe closer to one of the other two hides!
On entering the most westerly hide, it was immediately clear that our hunch was right, as the two Spoonbills along with 4 Little Egrets were looking for food a short distance from the hide.
After a while there were a total of 3 Spoonbills and 4 Little Egrets feeding in front of the hide and apart from a brief change of target to a Common Redshank perched on a post, approximately 30 minutes of intense observation and recording (via the camera equipment) was undertaken with these resplendent heron-related ‘white birds’.
The behaviour both intraspecifically (between the same species) and interspecifically (between different species) is always fascinating during one of these ‘sessions’ and as usual I was looking to capture these interactions and feeding strategies and the resultant prey, which in this case suggests that ‘small’ snails were being consumed mostly by the Spoonbills and their ‘lifting’ of aquatic plants and the vicinity in which they were hunting suggested that snails were being ‘targeted’, along with other aquatic life.
The three Spoonbills appeared to be a family of two adults and a juvenile, although the begging of the juvenile was not being tolerated by the adults and was invariably having to learn to find its own food, via this almost ‘abandonment’ by its parents. However, like most young animals the chance of an easy meal is always worth a try!
The Egrets were also exhibiting this behaviour of refusing to feed juveniles and almost reverting to a hierarchical relationship, despite the gene lineage, which we as humans hold so dear!
Spoonbills. See the new Spoonbill Photo Gallery