Mind where you step!

The Ringed Plover seems to risk all

RInged PloverRInged Plover

Whether it is keen anglers, winkle pickers, dog walkers or people displaced from crowded beaches during this lockdown, the beach at our home here in Donaghmore, Lislevane, West Cork has had more than its fair share of visitors.

It amazes me that people seem completely oblivious to the complaints of the Ringed Plovers.

Ringed Plover - vocal distractionRinged Plover - vocal distraction

Seemingly they risk all preferring to nest on the exposed shingle and rock characterising this environ. They live here in pairs and when disturbed by a potential danger both spring into action running and flying in low circles calling out.

This is all a dance of distraction from this…

Ringed Plover Chick pretending to be a pebbleRinged Plover Chick pretending to be a pebble

As soon as the flightless little chick innately senses danger it lies down flat, motionless with beak along the ground. The diversion show from the parents include flicking the white tail feathers, even feigning a broken wing – anything to grab the attention away from the young one pretending to be a pebble. I have observed it lying stock still whilst a dog takes a good sniff at it eventually enticed away by the antics of the adults.

And when the danger is passed for a good while, up it pops, running around on it’s spindly stilts!

Ringed Plover Chick standing upRinged Plover Chick standing up

So if you happen to wander down to a beach, take care and mind where you step. The chick is very well camouflaged and the Ringed Plover seems to risk it all, laying the eggs out on the open shingle looking like any of the other stones.

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