We’ve had a tough week.  There are wildlife cameraman words to describe a week like this, but most of them are unprintable.  Let’s just say that with the cold wind and abundant rain it has been ‘jolly difficult.’

But to coin a cliche every cloud has a silver lining, or was it just that the clouds thinned out for a while?  Yet again under expert guidance on a fine Brecon Beacons evening we were led to a potential golden plover area.  Golden plovers, like many species in Wales, are increasingly scarce on the uplands.  Upland Wales has been grazed to death by sheep over the years.  I look at some of these areas and wonder whether the world really does need so many sheep eating everything bar nettles and briers.  After a back breaking walk to the tops at the west end of the Beacons (those camera bags get no lighter despite the advance in technology) we came across a rocky area amongst the rough grass.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I quickly scanned the area with binoculars… dotterel, and more than one of them.

Take a look at this link.  The dotterel is a really smart bird, both male and female, and the information on this RSPB link will explain the interesting sex reversal role of this bird.  The distribution map doesn’t show them in Wales, but they stop here on passage to their more northern breeding grounds.  As wading birds go they are very confiding, so we settled down to watch and wait.  Thankfully the wind dropped, and we were treated to outstandingly close shots of the bird as they inquisitively came within 20 feet or so.

After a tough time with the weather and unseasonal cold winds keeping spring at bay, it was a wildlife cameraperson dream to have such an unexpected bonus.  For this week at least the dotterel is my favourite bird.  We saw 12 of them in the end, feeding on worms and insects.  I filmed one using its legs to vibrate the grass, which presumably encourages the insects to reveal themselves.