Monday, 8 July 2013

Dotterels Valdresflya

One of the highlights of this year’s holiday in Beitostølen was the views we had of Dotterel (boltit). The breeding density of this fluctuates from year to year in the mountains here and some years we have failed to see the species whereas other years it has been decidedly common as it was this year. On one short walk we had at least six adults and one youngster. Two males actively approached us (and would probably have gone unnoticed otherwise) and engaged in their distraction display whereby they play injured and slowly lead us away from wherever their young are. They play that they are injured by dragging their wing or tail along the ground and then when you (or a fox) get close they fly a bit further ahead. They can do this for 100 metres before suddenly flying back to where the youngster is. When doing these distraction displays they allow very close approach, indeed they encourage it by flying to within a few metres and calling such as to get your attention. This is good for both the photographer but also for the kids who get a unique experience with a very special bird.


It is the male Dotterel that sits on the eggs and raises the young whilst the female courts several males and lays multiple clutches with different lovers. The female is also more colourful. The bird pictured is a male and has less bold colouring than his long vanished mate.
here we see a male Dotterel trying to draw my youngest daughter away from where his young were hiding

we did find one youngster which quickly ran away and disappeared - its downy plumage proving to be great camouflage

showing how close the bird came to us even when the youngster was over 50 metres away

playing injured

once he has my attention he starts moving away whilst still playing injured

trying to lure Sara to the edge of a cliff...

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