Dull damp days don’t particularly inspire me, so it took a bit of effort to convince myself to climb out of a warm bed and head off out. I’d recently spotted a curlew (one of the North York Moors’ oft proclaimed ‘Big 5’) doing its best to shepherd a fast growing chick through its early days. While the chick foraged well-hidden among rough grasses its parent was easily visible and made a more achievable subject. While I watched it was on constant alert and called repeatedly, alternating between harsh shrieks towards unwelcome visitors (two sheep and one pheasant) and more gentle burbling calls to its chick.
To my surprise I saw the same bird again in the same place later in the day and reckoning that this family weren’t moving anywhere fast, a plan for an early morning foray was immediately hatched. That’s where the rain came in, or more accurately, came down.
I set out anyway, reluctantly reminding myself that if you don’t try you definitely don’t get.
The curlew was just about where I had hoped to find it and I soon settled down to some photography. Moorland early mornings, where a melody of mixed birdsong fills the air are always a delight, even when it’s raining. This was such a morning. After a couple of hours of posing, foraging and preening my curlew decided that it had reached its wetness limit and went into spin drying mode. One thing that I found particularly interesting is how it turned to align its beak with its neck. I imagine that if it didn’t it would be in danger of a severe case of whiplash from thrashing its ridiculously long beak back and forth.
My best shot of the spin isn’t great, but just about worthy of a place in a set that tells the curlew’s story.