I thought it would be a good idea to try and get a photo of a Golden Plover last week. They are notoriously difficult to approach away from their breeding grounds, being extremely flighty, but I thought I would give it a try.

The first opportunity was a small flock that landed in the Cattle paddock opposite Falcon Cottage. Even before I broke the skyline they had spotted me and shuffled ominously away to the far side of the field. It took me 30 minutes to get within 100m and they were off… I offered up an expletive, but it was no use, they tumbled into the next field, sown with winter wheat, and the opportunity was lost. I needed a plan B.

I had seen one or two nice bright individuals within some tidal creeks when taking out a tour the day before. I thought I’d pay them another visit. I reckoned if I could hunker down in one of the deeper creeks and wait for the birds to come to me, as the rising tide pushed them my way, I may have better success.

If anyone ever suggests to you that sliding down into a mud filled abyss is a good idea, tell them to forget it. My chosen spot didn’t look too deep but that was before I realised the 8 foot drop was coated in sticky, slimy, filthy mud. Half sliding, half skating I ended up at the bottom, ankle deep and covered in it … at least I was well camouflaged. I was also out of the biting wind. You understand I was searching for any positives at this stage.

I was in situ and I waited … and as it happened I didn’t have to wait too long. A Golden Plover approached, feeding as he came.

He too was covered in mud; feet, legs and bill. Perhaps he thought we had something in common, all coated up in mud together, I don’t know, but it wasn’t long before we were no further than 10 feet apart. I fired off as many shots as I could before he ambled away. I had a smile on my face. I knew I had some half decent shots. The smile didn’t last long though as I realised I now had to get out of this bloody place!


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February 2012
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