Oh no, not again! Daddy had placed himself beside the wire, and whilst producing a series of sounds I hadn’t hear a plover making before, looked to his kid under the sieve, but didn’t display any further attempts to try to get into the trap. Damn!
There’re two ways of trapping adult Kentish plovers. You can trap them on the nest, which is actually the most easy way, or you can trap them on the chicks. For the latter, you first need to grab the little ones. On sand it’s pretty ok, they often just press themselves against the ground and if you can find the spot where you saw them the last time, it’s easy. Muddy area can be a bit more challenging. Yesterday I ended up with a trouser 10cm deep in the mud and feed and hands as black as my local friends. Once you’ve the chicks, you place a small sieve on the chicks and the trap on the sieve. As with the nest-trapping, you turn the car, go about 30-40 meters back and wait. This morning I was on the Plateau, trying to trap a family in the holes made by the sand extraction from a few years ago. The female I had already. In most cases, she’s the first trying to get into the trap. Males are much more difficult. Just like this one, they spent some time running to and away from the trap, in a good case circle around it, in the best case go eventually inside, but often ending up sitting near the wire, whistling, but not having the clue of going inside. I can tell you, it’s a bit frustrating.
Apparently this wasn’t working. I had to think of something else. But very surprisingly, I got a bit of help from our “enemies”. With a low ‘”Croooowww” the male Brown-nacked raven passed by. Panic everywhere! Plovers, Sanderlings and Turnstones flushed away and within two seconds the sand hole was empty. Oh my, how could I solve THIS problem? Sir spotted the trap and with some excited screams circled around it and made himself ready to land. I was sure the chick must experience a thousand fears down there. Luckily the raven suddenly got me in his eyesight and with a surprised “Craw!” changed flight and landed on the ridge of the sand hole. They’re quite big animals. The wind flushed the long feathers of his back up, while he was watching me. He took flight again, but not really convincingly and landed just a few meters away. Some walking around, picking in something he had found in the grass, a suspicious look at me… Then he got back on the wings, now to the trap. I stood up and waved my hand to the black bird flying above my head. It was more an angry gesture, as I know the reputation of these birds and that there wasn’t much more I could do at the moment. I really didn’t expected it, but it helped. With series of wroth ”Craaaws” he flew away. Really? He wasn’t landing somewhere, waiting for me to leave trap and place unprotected? No, he had taken the wings to the Salina path. This was my last chance! I know the dad would be very quickly back, calling for his kid. I’d give it a last 15min. If he wasn’t in the trap by then, I would leave it like that. But I was lucky. Thanks to the visit of Sir Raven, daddy had conquered his fear and after a few circles around the trap, entered it and half a minute later I had a beautiful male Kentish plover in my hand. Very nice! Ringing time!
Slechtvalk Blog: Catching daddy on Maio