Sunday, July 09, 2006
The Bird in the Bog
I rarely get close enough to Black-fronted Plovers to photograph them, but this morning I finally did, just! I dropped in to (not literally) the Lewisham "duck pond", which has a pretty low water level at the moment and fewer waterfowl than usual, and noted 2 Blackfronts feeding at the Northern (shallow) end. That at least meant that with luck I might be able to photograph them from the car. I waited sometime as they gradually moved toward me, feeding in the liquified mud, as they did so. While watching them closely, I realised they were using the 'foot trembling' technique. This is the first time that I can recall observing this method of feeding by Blackfronts, but I can't remember seeing them feeding in liquified mud before either! The technique consists of the bird putting one foot forward in mud/water and moving the foot rapidly from side to side--trembling--which presumably disturbs the prey, followed by a quick dart forward to seize it. It's a method that Silver Gulls often employ. Black-fronted Plovers appear to have increased in numbers over the past 30 years, probably as a result of many more farm dams being built. This venue at Lewisham generally holds a few birds.