Couldn’t resist quickly posting this picture of a wheatear chick found on the road this afternoon. He must have stepped out of the nest a matter of hours before I saw him, and his wings were taking some getting used to. They flopped around beside him, and he moved around in a fumbling, foolish series of stumbles until he finally managed to get above the shelter of the rushes, at which point the wind caught him and he sailed beautifully off over thirty yards of thistles and ragged robin to perform a beautiful ballerina’s landing on the dyke top nearby. As much as he delighted in this little victory, it won’t be long before he’s staring down the barrel of a rather more demanding journey – all the way to East Africa.
Despite his grey, chick-like anonymity, his little white tail was well pronounced in miniature, and as I approached him to take this picture, he bobbed and ducked in quiet imitation of an adult bird. I wished him well and drove up onto the moor, where a peregrine slid at speed through spots of rain. Snipe cowered beneath the asphodel and waited for him to vanish down towards Dalry, and then they crept quietly out again like snails from their shells.