There are two types of waders in Myllylähde, both of which thrive on the spring’s fringes. The ever nervous green sandpiper is best recognised by the flightcall it gives when in the air. It is a medium-sized, generally dark wader with a white rump that is visible when in flight as are its blackish wings and white flanks.
The other wader is the common sandpiper, which is often identified just by its shape: it is said to teeter – the head and the rear of the body constantly bob when the bird stands or walks. During courtship, the common sandpiper flies over water surfaces, so that the white wingbars of the bird are extremely visible. Its nest may be located far from the water, but chicks are always led to the edge of a wetland to be raised.
Their nests are often built on a sandy dune, which offers protection. The green sandpipers nesting habits are special because it lays eggs in former thrush or squirrel nests that can be located very far from the nearest wetland. Both parents take care of the chicks but the female soon leaves the task to the male and migrates. In contrast, both of the common sandpiper parents are involved in raising their young.
It is almost impossible to see the chicks of both waders of the species because if a parent observes a human, a warning is sounded and the chicks press impassively to the ground or into grass cover. Once the human departs, the parent signals all safe and the chicks start moving again. Both waders are faithful to nesting sites year after year.
Photos: Tomi Muukkonen ja Arto Juvonen