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Page:The Zoologist, 4th series, vol 4 (1900).djvu/201

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AN OBSERVATIONAL DIARY OF THE HABITS OF
THE GREAT PLOVER(ŒDICNEMUS CREPI-
TANS
) DURING SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER.

By Edmund Selous.

 

The Great or Norfolk Plover being not yet exterminated in East Anglia, I spent some time during last September and October in observing its habits.

A thick belt of bracken fringes on one side a barren area of sand scantily clothed with lichen or moss, or with some very close dry herbage, which (if not the lichen itself) is browsed on by Rabbits. In other parts it is bounded by a tangle of very long thin wiry grass, or by some stunted and sorry-looking heather, clinging amidst sand and flints. Beyond, on one side, is the river; on the other a piece of open moorland, which the bracken also fringes on one side, whilst the road skirts it on another. I had seen the Plover on this sandy waste (which I here call the amphitheatre or plateau), and thought the bracken might give me the means of getting closer to them than I had before been able to do.

The following notes were made almost always on the spot, sometimes whilst the actions noted were proceeding, usually just after. They were copied out, and sometimes a little elaborated or added to on my return home the same evening. If occasionally I put down something after a longer interval of time, I had always kept it quite fresh in my memory.

September 1st, 1899.—Crept up through the bracken to edge of open space between 5 and 6 p.m., and found myself close to a number of the Great Plover. They, however, shortly took alarm from the moving of the fronds, and flew farther off, but to no great distance for the glasses. Some three or four birds remained quite near. The birds that had flown off were joined by others, and at last by a flock of ten. They may then have amounted to some fifty in all, and stood stretched out in a long