Friday, 13 July 2012

Breeding Waders

With no major tern news to report of late I thought I'd take the time to share a few pics of the Ringed PloversOystercatchers, Lapwing & Snipe we've had nesting here at the colony & on the adjacent marsh this season.

Despite some excellent numbers of breeding birds present (20+ pairs of Lapwing, 10+ pairs of Ringed Plover, 6 pairs of Oystercatchers & c.5 drumming Snipe) most seemed to have failed due to a combination of persistent wet weather, predation from Foxes & crows, severe Spring tides & abandonment of nests. This follows a nationwide pattern of poor breeding success reported so far this year.

Only one clutch of Oystercatcher eggs hatched but the chicks vanished soon after. Several broods of Ringed Plovers were to be seen scampering around the beach a few weeks ago but none of the expected fledged juveniles 
have materialised on the nearby marsh & estuary. As few as 6 Lapwing young are thought to have fledged despite plenty of clutches hatching successfully. Snipe are out of our reach for checking on breeding success effectively but lots of drumming, singing & displaying has been noted so hopefully they did ok.

Tern warden Niall Keogh fitting a Ringed Plover chick with a uniquely coded metal ring © Jamie Durrant
Ringed Plover chick just after being ringed  © Jamie Durrant
Adult Ringed Plover brooding a chick during wet weather. An all too common sight this season © Ronnie Martin 
Ringed Plover nest with an adopted stone! These eggs failed to hatch unfortunately © Niall Keogh 

Distraction displays by an adult Oystercatcher on the day the eggs hatched © Laura Nuttall
A well grown Lapwing chick © Niall Keogh
A 'drumming' (i.e. displaying) Snipe © Brian Carruthers 


  1. Do you think the plover adopted that stone as they didn't have it in them (perhaps due to the terrible weather) to lay a fourth (i notice 2 of them look quite small) but felt an urge to have a clutch size of four?

  2. Not sure what the story with the stone is Jamie. The female plover happily incubated the 3 eggs as they were for three weeks before the stone appeared all of a sudden in & around the time when they should have hatched. At that point the eggs were abandoned for whatever reason (maybe she knew they weren't going to hatch?). Niall