The best stories you get from nest search. Even after one season one can dig up quite some tales and among us plover-people, this is the way to get appreciation from each other, honor, reward… Or looks like “Wo, pretty stupid, you’ve been lucky with that!”…
Alex and me were catching on N108. The route there in the Rocky part isn’t really good, hilly and loads of stones. So we had parked the car on the last good part and run to the nest, instead of racing toward it with the car (much more fun and effective, but anyway). We had caught the male and while Alex was ringing it, I noticed a bird going cautiously to the front of the car. Looking at us, moving a bit, looking again… Alex finished his work and went out to release the bird and take away the dry dung we had placed on the nest to protected it from the boiling noon sun. Of course the bird flew away. Back into the car, Alex told me “Let’s move”. “No” I said, “Wait. Look at that.” There was the bird again. Moving slowly, watching us, coming closer, watching us again. One meter in front of the car the bird settled itself down between the stones. “Nest!” we both said at the same time.
The same happened with N109. That day we had 4 people in the car: Tamas, Augusto, Cristina and me. I was ringing, Cristina explaining me about the smears, Augusto taking pictures, so the bird almost escaped our attention, but Tamas saw it. A few meters away from the car where everyone was busy doing things, the female decided to take the risk of going back to her nest and by that, revealed it to us.
To me, plovers appear to have a preference to nest just beside the route… The third nest I found this season was the full 20 cm form the tracks of the car… I was driving with Augusto. Before us, a suspicious bird flushed away. Interesting! We passed the place, slowed down and stopped. Behind us, the plover returned on her traces. She crossed the route and then stopped. For 5 long minutes she stood motionless, watching us. And we were sitting in the car, trying not to move, watching her trough the back window. Then she made a quick movement and settled herself on her nest, straight in front of her. No way we would have seen it. N34 and N28 in the Sand dunes were the same. The first one meter from the tracks, the second only one feet…
Alex found a nest between tracks. I had crossed that place once and neat in the middle, a plover had decided to lay eggs. Nest number 40 was even better. We drive with the car from the Sand dunes to the Plateau a bit on a hill. There’re loads of tracks on the ground there, no fixed route. One morning I saw with disbelieve a plover returning carefully to a place on that little hill and settling down, just like it would do on a nest. A check revealed a nest with three eggs, between uncountable traces of our tires… I had to place a big stone in front and a piece of wood on the other side, to prevent us driving over it.
But the best find I made was on foot. I had seen a plover on the sand, displaying a bit suspicious behavior, but not really convincingly. Nonetheless, I decided to check the place. It was a bit far and in the dunes. Small bushes of grass on a sand plate aren’t really good landmarks, but I had to do with it. From the 2D of the bino I went to the 3D of my sight and started to walk. On the place I thought there could be a nest, there was nothing. After a bit of search, I decided to go back. Knowing how easy it is to miss a nest, I walked back in my own footprints. While I was looking down to see them, something else caught my eye. There, straight between the print of my left and right food, was the nest.
Slechtvalk Blog: Plovers and Nest Searching on Maio