June is a great month for spotting young birds, and living where I do now, I’ve had some great chances to see chicks of all different species. The most conspicuous have been a pair of seapies (oystercatchers) who seem to have managed to bring off three chicks in the hayfield between the house and the loch. I can hear them chipping away all day and night, and they attack anything even remotely resembling a predator with gusto. I watched them chasing a pair of red kites yesterday, and they kicked hell’s bells out of a buzzard who happened to be passing at the wrong moment. The chicks vanish into the grass at the slightest sign of danger, leaving the parents to “scramble” and intercept whatever it is that has caught their attention.
Down on the loch itself, it was great to see that the great crested grebes have also had a trio of chicks, beautifully marked in vertical black and white pinstripe. These little birds are almost impossible to see against the rippling water, and they can already dive down after their parents. Most of the time, however, they seem to prefer squabbling over who gets to sit at pole position on the adult’s back.