Avocets at Upton Warren this month.

May 2015.
During the spring of 2003 a pair of avocets established territory, laid eggs and successfully fledged young here. It must have been a time of great excitement! For a history of this event follow this link -

During the last two years we have been entertained by the antics of these iconic birds and this year I have tried to record a series of images of the chicks as they grow as well as some behavior of their feisty parents!

I use my Swarovski ATX telescope with their APO lens connected to an Olympus OMD M10 for many of the photographs of the chicks when small. However, the chicks and adults often approach close to the main hide and allow photos to be bagged with quite short lenses. (I am presently limited to a 210mm lens on my M1 as I wait with growing impatience for the promised 300mm lens)!

The parent will protect their young from pretty much any perceived threat. The Mallard and Shellduck chicks coming in for particular (violent) attention!

avocet 462 (21) avocets attacking shellduck chicks 462 (25) avocets attacking a gull 462 (19)

I have spent several enjoyable hours watching the avocet chicks grow this month, They clearly thrive on the ready supply of insects and other invertebrates below and above the surface of the water here. The parents seem to offer no help or instruction at all so far as feeding is concerned.
The photographs below were taken this month; note some were digiscoped but some of the later shots are actually taken with a relatively short lens as the chicks as grown and as they obligingly come close to the hide (while I am actually there)...

avocet chick 459 (37)bavocet chick 459 (22)avocet chick 459 (122)avocets 462 (55)avocet chicks 462 (5)avocet chick 459 (86)avocet chicks 377  (75)

The parents are always ready to offer shelter from a sudden shower of rain (of which we have had too many this cool Springtime) and otherwise pose for the photographer!

avocet 459 (104)avocet with  chicks 459 (17)adult avocet 459 (77)

...and of course, continue to terrorize the other bird families....

avocets vs shellducks 459 (10)avocets and mallard family 459 (30)

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