Thursday, 11 December 2014

Where's Wally the Ringed Plover

There’s no sign of a red and white striped shirt, bobble hat, or glasses in today’s challenge. Wally (or Waldo in the US & Canada) has competition from a small wading bird very well hidden along the pebble shoreline of Loch Ewe at Aultbea. This is the bird mentioned in my last blog that had me smiling and stumbling in a hurry to capture photos!

Wet pebbles and seaweed along this shoreline made for tricky walking at times. Too busy looking down at our feet we didn’t even notice the delightful small group of Ringed Plovers (possibly juveniles by their less distinct black collar) until we were upon them – and we got very close!

Having remembered the Little Ringed Plovers that captured everyone’s imagination when BBC Springwatch were at Pensthorpe National Park back in 2010 that was what I thought I was seeing! However, not being as familiar with wading birds as garden ones I didn’t realise there were two quite similar Plovers.

One of the main differences between the Little Ringed Plover and the more common Ringed Plover is in the eye detail - the Little Ringed Plover has a distinctive yellow eye ring. As the name suggests the Little Ringed Plover is smaller too but I couldn’t tell these differences when taking my photos. Ringed or not this was one of the highlights of this ‘gardenwatching’ year!

Where's the Little Plover then? Let the challenge begin… can you spot it? Note some image files are larger so you have a sporting chance - just click on them ;-)


(1) There’s a definite two Little Plovers above – perhaps there’s even a third ;-)



(2) Zooming out - can you see three Plovers now? I believe there’s a fourth ;-)



(3) A good challenge now (answer at post end) - there are five Plovers to spot!



(4) An even harder challenge (answer at post end) - five Plovers to spot ;-)



(5) This is what we are looking for - it’s brownish grey matches the pebbles.



(6) Here’s some views from different angles to help you :-)



(7) Two Plovers this time – after the clues can you spot them more easily?



(8) Two Plovers again – have your eyes become used to seeing them now?



(9) So very well camouflaged as a pebble – only one Ringed Plover this time.



(10) A tricky two Ringed Plovers – I missed the second until just now ;-)



(11) Doubting myself now - could the sure two Plovers have a companion hiding?


So our snow predicated last weekend and so far this week has been pretty much a no show (all slush) allowing me time to indulge in some fun with this post on my first ever Ringed Plover sighting back in August. I hope you enjoyed the fun too - how did you get on?

Perhaps today we will see heavier snowfall and the newest little garden visitor I thought I spotted here might return. The snow does bring more garden visitors to the feeders. However, the winds have been wild and we don't want blizzards on the roads for drivers. Wishing you all a safe weekend where ever you travel.



There’s a little more info from the RSPB on the Ringed Plover below and if you follow the link you’ll see a distribution map showing it as a resident around most of the coast of the UK and Ireland. Where’s the Ringed Plover… well if you know where to look you might just spot it ;-)

”The ringed plover is a small, dumpy, short-legged wading bird. It is brownish grey above and whitish below. It has a orange bill, tipped with black, orange legs and a black-and-white pattern on its head and breast. In flight it shows a broad white wing-stripe. Breeds on beaches around the coast, but has also now breeding inland in sand and gravel pits and former industrial sites. Many UK birds live here all year round, but birds from Europe winter in Britain and birds from Greenland and Canada pass through on migration.”
RSPB Birds by name: Ringed Plover


Answers: Locations of the five Ringed Plovers in images (3) and (4).



Copyright: Original post published on http://blog.shirlsgardenwatch.co.uk/ by blog author Shirley, December 11th 2014.

10 comments:

ADRIAN said...

They are almost impossible to spot until they move. Great little birds. I spent hours watching them this spring.

Brian Skeys said...

They have great camouflage on the pebbles. You did well to get the photos.

Janneke said...

Lovely series of photos of these little birds, on the first photo I really could not find them. Indeed when the eyes are used to the pebbles and birds it is easier and I also saw them on first picture. It was fun and I enjoyed it.

Sue Garrett said...

They certainly are well camouflaged. I'm not good on waders either but U'm working in it.

We had a huge flock of golden plovers at our local reserve. Easy to spot as they were on the water.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Sneaky having the RIPL at the top of the first two photos. They are hard to spot. Cute little birds. Lucky you getting to see them.

Patricia Mason said...

They disappear just by sitting down ... magic!

Juliet said...

I just popped in to say happy Christmas and I have got distracted looking for ringed plovers! I suddenly started seeing them when you got to the picture with 5 ...

Hope you have a good Christmas, Shirl, and best wishes for the new year.

Silly Little Sheep said...

They are absolutely amazing. The "look for plover" game brightened my evening!! :) I joined the RSPB about two weeks ago and I am really looking forward to learning more about birds and other wildlife.

Great photos!!! :)

Shirley said...

Hello everyone, thanks for all your comments. Apologies for my delay in replies -I do hope you all had a good Christmas and I’d like to wish you a great 2015 :-)

Adrian, you are absolutely right there - such fun to watch when you do spot them. I can understand how easily time could be lost :-)

Brian, don’t they just. I was very lucky with my photos – pure and simple. I aimed the camera where I saw movement and was delighted to catch them as I did:-)

Janneke, thank-you, I had a few more and it was tricky deciding which ones to use until I decided on this idea. My eyes adjusted as I selected my photos and even then I missed an odd one until I was reviewing prior to publishing this. I found this post fun to do too :-D

Sue, very well! I don’t know if I’d instantly recognise a golden plover in the water. Perhaps I should swot up before going near water with a camera in the future. On the other side, it is fun when you get home uploading this mystery sightings and finding ID’s ;-)

Lisa, ha-ha… the sneaky move was by the birds. There was no cropping in that photo (apart from reducing file size) and I didn’t know the birds were in there myself – an even more fun capture that one was! They were cute and they really were a lucky find :-D

Patricia, exactly – these moments didn’t last long either but that’s what makes it more magical :-D

Juliet, hello again… sorry I didn’t get a festive post out and get round everyone with good wishes. It was a particularly busy festive time with lots of lovely moments – hope you had the same. Ha-ha… that was my intention for this post… a chill out from the Christmas rush ;-) Thanks, wishing you my best wishes for 2015 too :-D

Silly Little Sheep, thanks, what fun your blog (site) name is too. Delighted you enjoyed the game and thanks for leaving a comment on your visit. Enjoy your RSPB membership and browsing your local areas and further afield in 2015. If you’ve never taken part before there is a garden bird count at the end of the month :-D

Sue Garrett said...

I wouldn't have recognised them either but an RSPB guy was there. I usually sit quietly in hides listening to this who sound knowledgeable