whimbrel defined in 1930 yearwhimbrel - Whimbrel;
whimbrel - Crown dark brown, with broad pale streak down the middle; upper parts like the curlew, but darker; axillaries white barred with brown. Length of female, eighteen inches.
If it were our belief that the happiness of birds consisted in the degree of interest they, as species, excite in us, it could be said that the whimbrel suffers from his resemblance to the curlew. He is in form and colouring a lesser curlew with a less strongly marked individuality; ' half-curlew ' and jack-curlew, his two vernacular names, really imply that he is only half as attractive as the bigger bird. "With us he is best known as an autumn and spring visitor, breeding only in the Orkney and Shetland Islands. The migration eastwards begins at the end of July, and the birds continue to pass until September, flying rapidly and at a great height. Of the flocks that alight to rest and feed on our coasts, a few birds remain through the winter. The return migration begins in April, but the greatest number of the migrants appear on our coasts about the beginning of May. On account of their punctuality, the whimbrel is known in some districts as the ' May bird.' In language and habits they resemble curlews, but have shriller voices, a more rapid flight, are not so excessively shy, and do not confine themselves so exclusively to the sand-flats when feeding. Grass-grown saltings, low meadows, and pasture-lands in the neighbourhood of the sea are visited by them. The nest is placed on moors and heaths not far removed from the shore. A slight hollow among the heather or coarse grass is lined with dead stems and leaves, and four eggs are laid, in colour like those of the curlew, but differing in size. During the breeding season the whimbrels are extremely pugnacious, and attack the skuas, lesser black-backed gulls, and other egg-stealing species, and chase them from their nesting-ground with shrill, angry cries.
near whimbrel in Knolik
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