Six Whistler


There’s a strong passage of Whimbrel at the moment. I think these are charming birds. The old English name for them is ‘Six Whistler’ which originates from the call they make. I have sometimes heard their call at night as they migrate.

I was taking a couple of photographers down the beach the other day when high above us we could see a group of waders flying east out to sea. I couldn’t hear then because of the waves on the beach but it was possible to see they were Whimbrel. I emulated their call. When I’ve done this in the past a flock usually alters course, swings around me and given me a closer look before continuing on their way.

Sure enough the birds dropped a little and came for a closer look. I was quite surprised however when they pitched lower and landed on the beach in front of us. The beach was busy with dogs and people so they didn’t stay long before they were once again on their way. So wonderful to have a close look at them.


Whimbrel 1

The hanger-on at the tail end of the flock was a Bar tailed Godwit – I guess if you’re a Godwit and need a friend any long beak and a decent pair of legs will do.

Whimbrel 2 Whimbrel 3


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