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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

19 February, 2014

The forgotten grey plover?

To my mind the grey plover (Pluvialis squatarola) is something of a forgotten bird. Ask a number of Dorset birders to name ten waders and I suspect very few would include grey plover in their list, I am not sure why. They are rather plain, drab birds in winter I suppose, no remarkable plumage and they are not that big and so not particularly impressive.
Grey plovers are not that common
but they hardly set the pulse racing when you see one. A couple of hundred over winter in Poole Harbour and lesser numbers elsewhere in the county. During migration times the number go up a bit with passage migrants dropping in for lunch. As with many of our wintering waders here in Dorset, the grey plover nests in the Arctic and migrates south for the winter, some go as far south as Africa.
They also seem to be solitary birds, usually seen on the waters edge at low tide feeding alone rather than in the company of their fellows. Do they even look a bit sad or is it just me being sentimental?  
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