Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Summary of Indoor Meeting 6th June


Elis and Rick Simpson provided the club with a presentation this evening associated with a love of plovers. Elis is the photographer of the team and the presentation contained many images of her work from all over the world. They are certainly a very well travelled couple! Rick presented the subject, explaining that as a boy he had always wanted to see a Lapwing, and to this day it is probably still his favourite bird. To Rick's mind it should have been the Lapwing and not the Robin recently voted as the nation's favourite bird!

He then provided an overview of what a plover is and where it sits in the complex classification world, and without being too scientific describing that behaviour plays a big part in assessing what really is a plover and not something similar. Using birds familiar with British birdwatchers, such as Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Dotterel etc, he provided photographs of birds allied to the 'British plovers' and gave examples of behaviour, migration strategies etc.

I didn't know that the collective name for a group or flock of Lapwings was a 'deceit of Lapwings' and Rick introduced some theories as to how this may have come about. A group of plovers on the ground is apparently a 'congregation' and when in flight it is a 'wing of plovers'. He also explained that some birds where 'plover' is in their name in fact are not plovers at all - the most obvious perhaps being the Crab Plover which may actually be closer related to gulls than waders!

Rick clearly researches his subjects very intensely, but doesn't insist that his message is an absolute and offers his conjectures in a personable but convincing manner.

Like most families or orders of birds there were examples of species that were struggling, mostly due to human influences on the world, but also examples where species have exploited areas such as the Southern Lapwing in South America and where human communities or islands have influenced the status and breeding success of rare or vulnerable species with deliberate pro activity providing great success.

The talk ended with an excellent cross section of many of the plovers, lapwings and dotterels of the world and a summary of what Waderquest seeks to achieve very much on a world stage - all very impressive and driven by a determined, talented and committed naturalist duo. They deserve our respect and our support!


Neil M

American Golden Plover.

African Wattled Plover and
African Rock Python!

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