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Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Two trips for a Dotterel!

It is the time of year when the Dotterel start to appear locally on their Northwards journey to their breeding grounds.A few had been reported at nearby Pendle Hill, so I decided to venture forth with the camera in the hope of a few close shots!
They can be a very obliging bird for the photographer as they will come to within a few metres, providing one remains still and keeps low to the ground.They dont seem to have any fear of man.It is also one of the birds where the female is more handsome than the male!It is he that does all the incubating of the eggs and tending of the hatchlings.
An early start was arranged and I headed off to Pendle, only to be greeted by very low cloud and visibility down to about 20 metres!Terrible conditions for photography.I had a good idea where the birds may be located and as I headed up the hill, 2 in fact came whizzing right past me towards their favourite area.
Trying to get decent images of the two birds was nigh on impossible in the conditions,so after a few hours of hanging about and watching the birds,I decided to call it a day.A few other birders had got wind of the birds and I left them enjoying the close views to be had!
At the foot of Pendle I got talking to the farmer who owns the land and we chatted away for the best part of an hour about various topics.He told me that there used to be as many as 12/15 birds dropping in on the summit 20 + years back,now we`re lucky to get 2 or 3 present.On glancing back up the hill the cloud seemed to be lifting,little bits of blue sky began to appear.Hmmn should I go back up and try for some better images!A quick brew and sandwich back at the car and I was again winding my way back to the summit.After all these birds don`t usually hang around very long and we may not get anymore stopping off.Must be bloody mad to do this again,I told myself.
At the top the cloud had lifted considerably.There was still another birder present who utterd the words, they`ve just flown off 5 mins ago in that direction,and pointed North!I searched all the likely looking areas but no sign!Ah well it wasn`t ment to be.I`ll just do another circuit in the hope they come back.About 200 metres from the Trig point in a Westerly direction I scanned hard with the binoculars,and lo and behold both birds were observed preening.Magic, I`m in business and I`ve got them at close quarters.whilst merrily clicking away, I was joined by 2 other birders who also got in on the act.It was a truly memorable experience photographing the two female Dotterel today,one that I hope to repeat again in the coming years!!!


  1. Paul. Very well done. Nobody deserves a close encounter with these beautiful birds as much as you do !!! You have gone through many trials and tribulations to obtain these superb images. At long last it paid off and it was good to see the very broad grin on your face as you were leaving for home. Your persistence and perseverance finally paid off. Well done mate.

  2. Excellent series Paul. The fourth one is a cracker.