Sunday, 9 August 2015

Day 272 - Regally Perky Ringed Plover

Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula) at Blakeney Point
Hey everyone today's Day 273 and you may have noticed, there hasn't been any posts recently, that's because I have been on holiday in North Norfolk. It's an incredible place to go, not just for the wildlife but that's what I will be focusing on over the next 35 or so posts. Yes, that is the sheer amount of wildlife I saw at Norfolk and in the Broads that I haven't covered before. I visited places like Titchwell Marsh, Hickling, Horsey Mere, Cley, Blakeney Point and even where we stayed was in a Nature Reserve. But today's post will be about a bird I saw at both Blakeney Point, a National Nature Reserve run by the National Trust and Titchwell Marsh which is a great RSPB reserve. Today I'm covering the Ringed Plover! It was nice to be able to go and actually find and photograph birds that I haven't covered yet so I was quite happy when I found this lovely little bird. They were lovely to watch running around the shingle beach at Blakeney Point as they seemed to appear out of nowhere and then disappear just as quickly. It was hard to get close as there were still juveniles around but I still managed to get a few photos.

So, here are the facts:
    They can be hard to spot on the shingle
  • They eat by wading in the water or picking amongst gravel or shingle. They eat flies, spiders, worms, crustaceans and molluscs.
  • To get underground prey to the surface they apparently stand on one leg and tap the ground to imitate rainfall and bring the food to the surface, I haven't seen this but will be looking out for it!
  • They are resident all around the coast of the UK apart from the South-west of Britain where they only Winter.
  • They do Summer in particular parts of England and Scotland, the East side of Scotland and Central England.
  • There are between 5,300 and 5,600 breeding pairs in the UK and in the Winter there are 36,000 birds.
They are very pretty little birds
  • Ringed Plovers will lay up to 4 eggs in a single clutch, but they usually have 2 or 3 in a year, parents will aggressively defend the nest and will even fake a broken wing to lead a predator away from the nest.
  • A nest is normally just a scrape in a shingle beach, possibly lined with a bit of vegetation where they lay their eggs which are camouflaged perfectly with the stones.
  • They are an Amber Status because there has been a recent population decline between 1981 and 2007. 
  • Some sites say this is because of increased coastal recreation by humans but the Ringed Plover has managed to help its numbers by using other habitats like farmland, gravel pits and reservoirs.
  • They have a couple of Common Names which are the 'Sea Lark' and the 'Sand Lark'.
  • Reasonably small they are only 18cm long with a 52cm wingspan and weigh around 64g.
Watching me closely since the juveniles are still around
  • Their Scientific Name, Charadrius hiaticula, means A Ravine Cleft to Inhabit. Kharadra is Greek for A Ravine and Hiaticula is Latin for Cleft to Inhabit.
  • Because it has been such a long time since I have covered a bird, I want to remind you that since I did bird ringing, I cover the ring size, in this case it's B+.
  • They usually live for 5 years but the oldest one recorded was 19 years 8 months and 19 days. It died in 2000.
Here are some links to some more information:

Hope you enjoyed,


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