|A Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) at RSPB Titchwell|
Here you can see its size next to the Lapwing and gulls
I had great weather for most of last week but while I was watching this bird it went a bit grey and it was quite far away from the hide I was in (the Parinder Hide if you know Titchwell) but managed to get a couple of ok shots.
From the Collin's Bird Guide that I have it doesn't look like the Whimbrel is actually found in the UK. We shall see if this is true in the facts, here they are:
- Well, they are not very common but they are sometimes found here. They only breed in the Far North - East of Scotland as well as well as the Shetlands and Orkneys.
- They do pass through all of the UK's Coast, apart from most of the East side, in April to May and also in Late-Summer to Winter.
- A bit more on population, there are about 30 wintering birds, 500 pairs of breeding birds and 3000 passage.
- They have a few interesting local names which are 'May Bird', 'Tang Whaup(?)' and the mnost interesting is 'Seven Whistler'.
- This name comes from the number of whistles in their call (see below) which also has an interesting story...
- ...People believed that the reason they whistle 7 times is because there are 6 birds looking for a seventh. This connects quite well with their melancholy. Click here for their call from 10x50.com
- They look incredibly like the Curlew. The only way I see to identify them is by looking at their bill. The Curlew's is curved all over whereas the Whimbrel's is straight with a curve at the end.
This is a BTO video with more ways to identify them.
- They have an 81cm wingspan and a length of 41cm and both Males and Females weigh around 430g.
- As I have done for a while now, I have said the ring size. In this case, because of their huge legs, it's E, one of the larger sizes.
- They first breed at a quite old 2 years but they do live on for, again, a quite old 11 years. The oldest, though, lived for 24 years 1 month and 25 days.
- They usually eat slugs, worms and insects on Passage but when they breed they usually eat crustaceans, their beak is a nice shape to fit into the burrow of a Fiddler Crab.
Here are some links to some more information:
Hope you enjoyed,