Spontaneous colonization at a retention basin by Little Ringed Plover

FlußregenpfeiferIn the morning light, a bird with contrasting colors curves with sickle-like wings above a retention basin, which is only 6 months old and is part of a construction project for the renovation of a county road near a village in the middle of the countryside of southern Brandenburg, just 40 kilometers south of Germany´s capital, Berlin. Typical calls of a wader can be heard above the small water body, which is partly already overgrown with algae. A little later another bird, then briefly another specimen can be seen. The first thought is: Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) or Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius). With a quick glance through the binoculars it is clear that it is the Little Ringed Plover. It more than lives up to its reputation as a fast colonizer of pioneer areas.


The retention basin was excavated only in the last winter. The sandy Brandenburg soil is only very sparsely vegetated. This does not keep 2 individuals of the Little Ringed Plover from engaging in courtship showing their white feathers in a display pursue.


To shoot an image of proof, I park the car at the edge of the county road and can then discover one of the landed Ringed Plovers on the bank of the basin. Also 2 Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) have already secured the retention basin as a depot for nest building material.


The species is originally an inhabitant of open dynamic floodplains of larger rivers and streams, i.e. of areas where substrate relocations take place annually due to floods. On the resulting, largely vegetation-free gravel banks and gravel islands, the Little Ringed Plover lays its nest and raises its young. Since its habitat is subject to constant change, it is forced to colonize newly created areas quickly.  As a new habitat, the Little Ringed Plover began to colonize so-called secondary habitats in gravel and sand pits and quarries in Middle Europe in the middle of the last century. It also gave way to large vegetation-poor wastelands, dumps and landfills. Today it even occurs on inner-city demolition sites, which it usually colonizes for only a short time. At present, however, the main habitats are still large extraction sites of sand, gravel and other mineral resources. In the long run, it is to be expected that these areas will no longer be available in the extraction areas to the same extent and that the population of the Little Ringed Plover will continue to decline. The nest is a shallow ditch, unlined or lined with some vegetation and stones, on bare ground or amid low vegetation near a body of water. This could fit for the location in southern Brandenburg, although a follow-up search at the same location in the afternoon was unsuccessful.


To cope with the growing demand for top shots of the rarer species of the Palearctic Bird-Lens is keen to enrich the range of pictures of birds you can find in the western palearctic and beyond.  Trips to places like this one to capture images not only of rare birds of western palearctic were very successful. The nice image of the blog is only a first impression, what you will find in the gallery in the “Picture Shop” very soon. Just give bird-lens.com a message, if bird-lens.com could serve you with an image needed before the new pictures are online.

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