Sunday 24 January 2016

Great spectacle of plovers and lapwings.

Near to where we live there are some flooded fields close to a main dual carriageway and adjacent to a parking area. In the past we have seen many Eurasian Golden Plovers and Northern Lapwings at this site and the other day, as it was sunny, we decided to go and take a closer look. Not that you could get much closer mind you, the birds stayed out on the fields some distance away.

Mixed flock of Eurasian Golden Plovers and Northern Lapwings.

I started to make a count but suddenly they were up and flying.
The same flock in flight after rising from the ground.

It was a mazing to see thousands of birds in the air at once.
A very small section of the huge flock.

One thing that interests me though is the way that when on the ground the two species intermingle but once airborne they soon separate into two distinct single species groups.
The flock begins to separate, mostly Northern Lapwings foreground, mostly Eurasian Golden Plovers behind.

The lapwings never go far and fly at a low level until they are comfortable enough to land again to resume their terrestrial activities.
The Northern Lapwings don't go far and are the first to settle again.

The plovers on the other hand swirl up and a great cloud and rise higher and higher giving one the impression they are about to depart, then they will glide down in several huge arcs until, as they close in on the ground, they wiffle, spilling the air from under their wings dropping into the flock standing momentarily with their wings raised until folding them and blending with the rest of the homogeneous congregation.
Eurasian Golden Plovers return to the ground momentarily raising their wings upon alighting.

Elis took a series of photos when they were on the ground so we were able to count them at home. We found there were around 3,000 Eurasian Golden Plovers and 1,000 Northern Lapwings.
A beautiful sight!


  1. I love watching....and hearing.....the plovers.

    1. They are truly beautiful to see and hear. Sadly on this day the sound of the traffic drowned out the lovely fluting calls of the golden plovers and mad cries of the lapwings.