Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sand Plovers and other animals

Tuesday 16th September

The Ythan had moved me greatly ;-$ on Sunday, so thought it worth my while going back there this morning for a proper poke round. Arrived in the pre-dawn, somehow, and wandered out onto the beach at the south side of the estuary to where the Sand Plover had been flushed on Sunday. It was low tide, and the beach was hoaching with birds. I perched on a small concrete tuffet in the pissing rain, eating my curds and whey, and got down to business - 100s of Dunlins, 50+ Ringed Plovers, 25 Red Knot, a couple of Sanderlings, 15 Bar-tailed Godwits, and plenty of Eurasian Curlews and Ruddy Turnstones and a few Eurasian Oystercatchers. So far so good, but then also the Greater Sand Plover popped out from behind an unnecessarily large dollop of seaweed, and started feeding actively along the hid tide mark.

Bit bigger than the Ringed Plovers, with a bill that at times looked huge, this b****** product of an unholy alliance between a Caspian Plover and a Crab Plover, the Ugly Sister to Lesser Sand Plover's Cinderella, is not one of Nature's masterpieces. But it sure knew how to move. Not really associating with anything, but on occasions was aggressive to the Ringer Plovers. I sat there for an hour and a half looking at it and, this being Northern Scotland, there was no one else about. A Slavonian Grebe just out to see struck me as being a bit unusual here as well.

When hypothermia threatened, I got back in the car and went to the other side of the estuary to that ploughed field, where there was still a juvenile Little Stint and three Ruff.

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