|Irish Name:||Feadóg bhuí|
|Scientific name:||Pluvialis apricaria|
Summer visitor from France & Iberia (though possibly some remain year-round in Ireland) & winter visitor from Iceland. Most in Ireland between October & February
Smaller than Grey Plover, with narrower, more pointed wings. Golden brown upperparts, which look grey at close range. Males in summer have more black below than females - extends from throat, towards each eye, and ventrally under neck, chest and belly. In winter, males and females similar in appearence, with no black underparts.
Flat whistle 'puu' in flight or when alarmed. Rythmic song 'pu-pee-oo' repeated in display flight, often followed by a repeated 'perpurrlya' when alighting, or when on the ground.
Feed on a variety of soil and surface-living invertebrates, principally beetles and earthworms, but also on plant material such as berries, seeds and grasses. They regularly feed in association with Lapwing & Black-headed Gulls.
Breed in heather moors, blanket bogs & acidic grasslands. Distribution limited to the uplands of northwest counties in Ireland.
Throughout the winter, Golden Plovers are regularly found in large, densely-packed flocks, and in a variety of habitats, both coastal and inland. Their distribution is widespread in Ireland.
Irish Wetland Bird Survey.
Breeding in upland blanket bogs in Ireland, predominantly of the West.
Numbers boosted by incoming Winter migrants. Ballymacoda in County Cork and Little Brosna Callows in County Offaly regularly support >10,000 birds. Strangford Lough in County Down, Rahasane Turlough in County Galway and Tralee Bay, Lough Gill & Akeragh Lough in County Kerry are other important wintering sites (7,000-10,000 birds).
Blog posts about this bird
Ox Mountains Bog Habitat Improvement
A healthy bog is a wet bog. Good quality habitat at Ox Mountain Bog SAC.This means, however, that peat forming bogs are very vulnerable to activities which reduce the water table, such as afforestation or drainage for turf cutting. Once that water table reduces, the peat dries and oxidation occurs, increasing the acidity above normal levels. Plant and animal communities which are specialised for high water tables and specific nutrient levels will die off and be replaced by other, often more species poor, assemblages. The land at Fiddandarry, a townland situated in the western section of the SAC, was earmarked for afforestation and all that would entail for the hapless bog inhabitants. A network of 43 km of drains was dug to prepare the land for plantations. Those plans for the development of forestry thankfully never proceeded, however these drains still represented a serious environmental impact on the bog communities of the SAC and some of the deepest ones of over a metre depth needed intervention if the habitat was to recover. Thankfully, it is possible to restore and rewet drained peatland habitats to states which allow active peat production by blocking those drains with peat dams, and allowing Sphagnum to recolonise the wetter space and start peat production once more. This was where BirdWatch Ireland came in. [gallery columns="2" link="none" size="large" ids="133044,133025"]
Drain blocking works at Fiddandarry, an ideal view of before and after.BirdWatch Ireland are key deliverers of the ‘Cooperation Across Borders for Biodiversity Project (CABB), which is a joint effort between no less than six partners to try to improve the quality of key peatland and wet grassland habitats for the plants and animals they support. The project is supported by the European Union’s INTERREG VA programme, and is a €4.9 million 5-year project targeting Special Areas of Conservation across the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. The work in the project is varied and adaptable to the needs of each site, from works like putting up fencing excluding predators from vulnerable breeding bird sites, to producing longer term targeted strategic plans for improving conservation status of SAC’s. At Fiddandarry, a scheme to block the network of forestry drains was undertaken, and an approach which would restore and rewet 450 ha of blanket bog habitat has recently been concluded.