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Page:The Zoologist, 4th series, vol 4 (1900).djvu/492

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458
THE ZOOLOGIST.
 

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

By Edmund Selous.

(Continued from p. 277.)

 

September 24th.—Left house at 3.20 a.m. It was bright moonlight, with a strong wind. Walked to the amphitheatre, and sat down on the edge of it at another place which I thought better suited for observation. Whilst on my way heard the cry of a Great Plover (the ground-note) quite near to the road. I must have been only a few paces from it when it went up, which would never have occurred in the daytime.

Whilst still moonlight, and before the dawn had broken, heard cry of Peewits in the air, and afterwards, in first grey of the dawning, that of the Great Plovers, and shortly afterwards these birds commenced to fly; first some half dozen, singly, or one following another irregularly, and with more or less gap between them. They flew from the direction of the river over the amphitheatre and, without alighting on it, continued, just topping the bracken, till I lost them over the crest of a rise. Have no doubt they went to their gathering-place amongst the heather. A rabbit, when just light enough to see, jumped extraordinarily high, several times in succession, shooting up from amongst the bracken in a wonderful way. Soon after sunrise a great number of Peewits flew together low over the ground on outer margin of amphitheatre, and then circled around and over it, high in the air, and getting gradually higher. Amongst them I now observed a Kestrel-Hawk. It was flying with them, the Peewits being close together (in a flock) at the time, and, shortly after, he had separated a bird from the body (at least the bird became separated), and the two were some time flying together; but I saw no active attack on the part of the Hawk. The latter I shortly missed, whilst getting them through the glasses, and the Peewit