30 July 2006

Little Ringed Plover at Leam Valley

Perfect patch birding - this morning I found three Little Ringed Plover on the scrape at Leam Valley.

This is by no means a common bird, and certainly not one I have found here on my many previous visits. In fact, like the Little Egret I reported on a few days ago, it is a species I have only previously found in Warwickshire's major bird reserves - Brandon (where pairs have successfully bred in recent years), Kingsbury and Draycote.

Now here, at 7am on the outskirts of Leamington Spa, were three more. One female with two juveniles - a few days if not more apart in age, with one moving into adulthood and the other still bedecked in downy feathers. The female was every inch the concerned mother, calling constantly to ensure her youngsters stayed in close proximity. They, children through and through, remained content to feed non-stop, ignoring her rising-falling calls, and even failing to notice when she flew away all together. She was, of course, back within moments, unable or unwilling to leave these two little birds alone just yet.

These plovers were of course the result of a successful breeding attempt, perhaps somewhere else in the county, and were now starting to move on, preparing for the long journey south (because the Little Ringed Plover is a migratory bird, a summer visitors only to these shores).

These beautiful little birds were of course the highlight of the morning, but an honoury mention should also go to a Brown Hare I spotted at the far side of the scrape at the same time - I am always fascinated by these mammals, and delighted to see them.

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