The masked lapwings have been even more intensely vigilant than ususal in the last few days, and this morning the reason became clear — three chicks hatched just after dawn.
Two chicks were born quite early and a third appeared later in the morning. By the time baby sis (or bro) was born, the other two were already waddling around the lawn, pecking at the odd worm — all under the watchful eyes of both parents.
This final photo shows the whole family.
I’ve read that plovers have a language of six to eight phrases that they use to manage their families — alert, alarm, go over there, come back to the nest etc. It will be interesting to see whether I can distinguish any of these phrases over the next couple of months as the chicks mature.
Update Tue 30 August: Back garden has persisted in being completely ploverless for two days now. I was ill over the weekend, didn’t see what happened. I wonder whether plovers feel grief or regret — and whether they’ll try breeding here again next winter. It might be a good idea to plant some more shrubbery, to persuade them to nest somewhere less cat-ridden.