Dotterel in the Brecon Beacons

Dotterel in the Brecon Beacons – Wildlife Cameraman Encounters

Dotterel in the Brecon Beacons – Wildlife Cameraman Encounters

When we set out on the ‘Iolo’s Brecon Beacons’ series I didn’t think there was much chance of us ever coming across dotterel. I have seen them before, but always on their breeding territory in Scotland. Dotterel in the Brecon Beacons would never have been on my tick list of wildlife cameraman encounters. This link is to an RSPB page about dotterel which you should find interesting.

Dotterel in the Brecon Beacons – frame from video

The main aim of our filming day was to find golden plover on the western edge of the Beacons.  As usual there was a local expert with us, without whom we’d have a cat in hell’s chance of finding what we were looking for. The western edge of the Brecon Beacons extend into Carmarthenshire. From a car park in the middle of nowhere we started the climb onto the high tops. Professional camera kit is not light.  I weighed our bag containing the Sony F55, a lens, a full compliment of batteries and miscellaneous stuff.  It came out at about three quarters of what the SAS normally carry.  Happily we don’t have to run with it for hours on end, but it’s not light.  It’s part of the job – keep fit or do something else.

After about an hour of going uphill the slopes levelled off to an area of rough grassland scattered with large boulders.  We had been scanning for birds on the way up.  There were the ever present meadow pipits, ravens and so on.  Steve knew the territory very well from years of visits and study.  Iolo is exceptional in the field, as you’d expect.  When I’m out with naturalists like this it is rare that I see something interesting first. That day I was lucky. I was scanning an area of boulders with my bins when a dotterel popped out from behind a rock.  I think I practically shouted ‘dotterel’, which was a bit unprofessional… but it was windy, and my voice hardly carried at all. It soon transpired that there was a small flock of these gorgeous waders. Steve explained that this was a traditional spring migration stopping off point, and by chance we were there at he right time.  A day before, a day later, we might have missed them altogether.  You can’t plan for that, unless you have days and days just to sit on the top of the mountain.

True to form the dotterel seem to be curious of people, and we settled down, did a piece to camera and picked up some decent stuff. The result is in the programme.

Link to RSPB information about dotterel.