Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Water Rail at Thompson Water, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Golden Plover at Deopham, Norfolk

A regular feature of the wide expanses of open country in the Breckland area are the large flocks of Golden Plovers which following their breeding season in upland Britain, move south for the winter.
Golden Plover at Deopham, Norfolk 02/09/14
During my break from work during the afternoon of 02/09/14, I parked up in Deopham to see what was about in the large fields there.  I soon heard Golden Plovers and quickly located the birds flocking above the fields as they do when disturbed, possibly by the presence of a raptor species.
500+ Golden Plovers were present, however, flocks in the Breckland area can grow to four figures in size.
Following their breeding season in upland Britain, Golden Plovers move south to lowland areas for the winter.  This species is often encountered as a passage migrant, or as a winter visitor, and can be seen as early as late July.  My earliest birds this year were in fact in late July at Houghton, Norfolk.
Male Golden Plovers in their breeding plumage are very spectacular birds with Black faces, necks and underparts, this contrasting strongly with the beautiful spangled golden upperparts.  Looking closely at this photograph, it is possible to see some black on the underparts of the male birds, this plumage feature is lost entirely in the winter months.
Male Golden Plovers begin to moult into their breeding plumage in late winter, early spring, it is therefore worth checking through a late winter flock to observe this beautiful bird before it departs for its upland breeding grounds.

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