Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Plover Heaven

From The Raptor:

I took a wee walk through Sanna on Sunday in a lessening but just as biting northeasterly wind.  The area was very quiet in the afternoon and the waves were peacefully lapping at the shore, not another human in sight.  I walked through Lower Sanna and onto the shore and the first Plover I came across was this wee beauty, the Ringed Plover.  There were a few of them in pairs readying themselves for the start of the mating season.

On the way back I took to the track at the far end of Upper Sanna and not to far from the car park I heard this strange call.  I knew it was a bird, I thought a Lapwing at first, but the call was not quite as excitable as the Lapwings.  Then, when I spotted the bird, I thought I was looking at quite large Thrushes at first, but a quick look with the binos told me it wasn't a Lapwing nor was it a large Thrush, but my first guess was that it was some sort of Plover.  The camera then took over and I managed to snap a couple of decent pics.

On returing home and checking the guides I came to the conclusion I had been looking at Golden Plovers, six males, all quite young or adults just coming into full summer plumage. This bird is resident around our coastal areas especially those with upland moors and peat bogs, although even though it is a wading bird it doesn't like getting its feet wet and usually stays on dry ground.  Our resident birds are joined in the latter part of the year by birds from Iceland and other northern areas who all move back north for the breeding season.  Some of our resident birds move further south for the breeding season then back here for the winter.  Scotland holds about 80% of the 15,000 breeding pairs which, according to the RSPB handbook (where most of my information came from), are an amber status bird.  I have never seen a Golden Plover here before so it would be good to know if they stay here during the breeding season - or were the birds I saw just some of those moving either North or South?

Then yesterday on a short visit to Achateny on work business I spied a group of eight Lapwings feeding in the silage field.  Lapwings are another sort of Plover, often called Peewits, but they're all the same family.  So, in the space of two days, I saw three returning Plover species arriving on the shores of Ardnamurchan.

Many thanks to The Raptor for words and pictures.

1 comment:

  1. We've had a largish flock of Golden Plovers in the field in front of the Nadurra Centre for the past week or so.