2013.07.29flappingOnly a week since ringing and the chicks have developed in, if not leaps and bounds, then stretches and flaps. A week ago they had no muscle to speak of and lay quite quiet and still as their leg rings and satellite back packs were put on. At that age they rely on huddling down flat in the nest so their cream and brown feathers can camouflage them from predators. Not so this week! Like Pop-eye after spinach they are standing up proudly on straight white-trousered legs, staring boldly over the edge of their main-mast crowsnest and extending their full sized wings in lazy bicep stretches. And today the flapping begins in earnest. Chick 14 flexes his pinions faster and faster until the air above the nest is a maelstrom and Chick 15 has to cower down out of the way of a potential clip around the earhole. Luckily there is no sign that all this effort will end in a lift off as trailing behind in the growth spurt, tail feathers are still quite stubby.