Thursday, June 11, 2009

Northern Lapwings

Northern lapwings, belonging to the family of plovers, used to be widespread in middle Europe but are being adversely affected by habitat loss due to intensive agricultural practices. It prefers lowlands with little vegetation. I had seen them occasionally in the distance, but was never able to get a good photo until my sister pointed me to a 3 to 4 acre field in Hamburg that had previously been used for hot air balooning. Walking across the dry grassy land interspersed with moist dips and valleys I saw lapwings rising all around me. I was soon surrounded by a vocal aerial flock and realized that I was disturbing their nesting. I beat a hasty retreat, but I did get some nice photos of adult birds though just one of the juveniles hiding in the grass. Juveniles are distinguished by dusky brown around their heads rather than the striking black and white pattern.

(Click on photos for larger view)

northern lapwing

northern lapwing

northern lapwing

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