Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The NZ Plover

Not a photo I took but a good example of the plover

I have noticed what seems to me to be an increase in what is called the masked lapwing, masked plover, spur-winged plover or occasionally just plover. It is quite a large bird, found in Australia, New Zealand and New Guinea. It is seen on the ground searching for food such as insects and worms and spends most of its time on terra firma.

Not long back I was awakened at night to loud bird cries above the house. It sounded like a large flock of these plovers was circling above our roof and it went on for some time. It has never happened again but it got me curious about this species. It has a distinctive call and not one that is melodious.

I cycle on some grassy slopes near where I live and see them foraging, always in pairs. I once heard one squawking above me so stopped my bike to see what the commotion was about. I then watched one swooping at a hawk that was gliding around the area. The hawk eventually decided it wasn't worth the trouble and moved on.

Behind our house there is a pieces of waste land and two plovers have taken it as their home. When I walk or cycle through it they cry out to each other in a warning type of call. At one stage the male would take off and then dive at me. Shortly after a young bird appeared and I saw it a few times. I went back one day to take a photo, although you cannot get close without them taking flight and coming at you. As it turned out I didn't see the young one and haven't since.

They still get tetchy when I pass but the dive bombing has stopped. I wonder if that is because the young one isn't around or they recognise me and that I don't try to antagonise them. Perhaps a bit of both. Certainly an unusual bird with attitude.

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