Monday, 31 March 2014


I saw two beautiful things the other day, neither of them the thing I was looking for. I'd gone out after an LRP. They'll be in the wader meadow at Kingfishers Bridge soon but they weren't there yet. What I did get though was a pair of quite brilliant lapwings. Not the plover I wanted, but a plover nonetheless and one I've seen hundreds and hundreds of recently.

Lapwings have long been a favourite of mine, and this year I've really loved seeing a few more of them around; in the fields outside Cottenham, alongside the Ouse Washes and most spectaculary coming in to roost at Ouse Fen. They're great in huge numbers, all flip flapping away, black, white, black, white. They're not very special though.

So it was with slowly growing real joy that I focussed on a pair sat placidly right in front of the hide. They're dandy little birds with their white bibs, jaunty crests (something of the waxed moustache there) and their iridescent capes. It wouldn't have surprised me if I'd zoomed in to see a little monocle covering one eye. The colouring of their backs is just amazing. There must be an adaptive reason for it but I can't for the life of me think what it could be.

As I was looking at them, thinking how good it is to have a good, long, close up look at something quite familiar, a pair of stock doves alighted nearby. Wow. Maybe the laps had attuned me to iridescence or maybe the sunlight caught them just right, but the bright jade colour on the side of their smooth grey necks was astonishing. That's what I love about this life; the capacity to be blown away by a pair of pigeons.

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