Saturday 29 May 1915, New Romney


Percy Lowe has come down for the weekend. This afternoon I took him to the Kentish plover ground. I succeeded in re-finding the two eggs, but foolishly lost my bearings for the second nest. The owners of the former were more in evidence today and showed some concern at our presence. Their note is very characteristic, a low but clear piping whistle, wheeet, followed by a dunlin-like twittering purr. The latter struck me as being very suggestive of the snow bunting’s twitter.


Lowe found a ringed plover’s nest containing three newly hatched young and an egg. Both parents displayed the utmost anxiety and went through their entire repertoire of avine deceits in their efforts to lure us away. They would come up to us within two or three yards and then, turning aside, with deliberate stumbling gait, they would trip and stagger and shuffle over the shingle, their bodies all the time painfully contorted from the effects of imaginary wounds. And as they proceeded, seeing that their efforts had failed to attract our attention, their efforts became still more desperate. With widely expanded tails they trailed and flapped their wings disjointedly upon the ground, grovelling as though in extremis or the last stages of a paroxysm. When at last we withdrew to a safe distance it was a rare pleasure to witness the obvious satisfaction with which both parents returned to their precious babies.


When at last we withdrew to a safe distance it was a rare pleasure to witness the obvious satisfaction with which both parents returned to their precious babies. Both parents immediately settled down to brood the young birds. They both seemed to wear a delightfully comfortable and happy expression and I am bound to confess I felt glad I had dissuaded Lowe from supplying the Museum with a much needed specimen of immature Ægrialitis hiaticula preserved in spirits!













We saw a small party of sanderlings(?) on the beach, some still very light and grey in colouration.

On our way back we flushed a redshank from three very handsomely marked eggs. Seeing that she was nesting on the open shingle – there were only a few wisps of grass, forming no kind of protection – I was rather surprised to find her setting so close. Indeed, she delayed her departure so long that when she did finally leave it was with a panic of fear and in such haste that she cracked one of the eggs against the stones that formed the hard bed of the nest. I have noticed that waders adopt one of two courses; they either sit very close, when they depend until the last moment on their protective colouration. or else they quit while danger is yet far distant and this latter procedure is by far the more usual with the majority of British species.




[1] Percy Lowe, an ornithological friend, accompanied Ingram bird-watching on the Riviera in 1905. He worked in the bird room of the Natural History Museum, eventually becoming Curator of Birds.

[2] The scientific name for the ringed plover is now Charadrius hiaticula.

[3] Ingram added later regarding the redshank, ‘One of the pebbles being rather large and projecting into the nest cavity may have deceived the bird into thinking she had laid the full clutch of four. In any case there would hardly have been room for the fourth egg.’ ‘As she flew away she laboured her flight, keeping the tips of the wings depressed, using them with short, fluttering beats while her coral-red legs dangled rather conspicuously in the rear.’



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