I’m spending a couple of weeks at home with parents in the agricultural plains of East Anglia, south-east England. This trip has been all about spending time with family, so getting out to look at birds has not been a priority. Nevertheless, I did manage a morning in my Dad’s hide, using my Dad’s camera, in a nearby field, to try to photograph a flock of about 70 Northern Lapwings yesterday.
Lapwings used to winter in great flocks in fields all around my parents’ home when I was a teenager, but now, I’ve only found this one small flock – a sad sign of the times.
Aggressors tip their tail forward and run toward a rival male, then pursue them in flght till they’re off their patch of turf. Whether it’s Lesser Sand Plovers defending their bit of mudflat in Penang or Northern Lapwings tilting at each other in England, you’ve got to love the innate aggression which all plovers seem to exhibit!
They move closer, trying to look as macho as possible!
They strut their stuff for a bit…
Then the gloves are off!
The loser flies off to try his luck elsewhere.
Meanwhile, the victorious male turns his attentions to the female…
…who, sadly for him, doesn’t seem too impressed!
Despite spending 4+ hours in the hide, the birds were always wary of me, and never came close enough for satisfactory photos. This was the closest one came.
I was amazed to find that, even in a temperature of 7 degrees C, there was a heat haze!
Distinctive on the ground and in flight, Northern Lapwing is a potential vagrant visitor to Malaysia, and could possibly occur in flocks of Pacific Golden Plovers wintering in paddyfields rather than on the coast. I think they are one of the most attractive waders there is – they look exotic on the deck and in the air, and they have an amazing call too. One to look out for!
Partridges in Europe don’t present the same challenges as those in the rainforests of South-east Asia. Nevertheless, they are pretty shy, so I was pleased to get these images of a pair of Grey Partridges feeding near the road. The male was obviously fired up for spring, just like the lapwings!