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Grey Plover

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Mainly a winter visit to the shores of Poole and Christchurch harbours


Photograph by: 
Peter Orchard

Grey Plover: the forgotten one?

Post date: Wednesday, 19 February, 2014 - 00:00

To my mind the grey plover (Pluvialis squatarola) is something of a forgotten bird. Ask a number of Dorset birders to name ten waders and I suspect very few would include grey plover in their list, I am not sure why. They are rather plain, drab birds in winter I suppose, no remarkable plumage and they are not that big and so not particularly impressive.

Grey plovers are not that common but they hardly set the pulse racing when you see one. A couple of hundred over winter in Poole Harbour and lesser numbers elsewhere in the county. During migration times the number go up a bit with passage migrants dropping in for lunch. As with many of our wintering waders here in Dorset, the grey plover nests in the Arctic and migrates south for the winter, some go as far south as Africa.

They also seem to be solitary birds, usually seen on the waters edge at low tide feeding alone rather than in the company of their fellows. Do they even look a bit sad or is it just me being sentimental?  


The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Sites List Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Common Name Grey Plover
Scientific Name Pluvialis squatarola
Status Occasional
Interest Level
Species Family Plovers
  • 01 - January
  • 02 - February
  • 03 - March
  • 04 - April
  • 09 - September
  • 10 - October
  • 11 - November
  • 12 - December
Preferred Environment
  • Mudflats
Look for A plump wader, on its own, displaying a dark eye stripe
Additional Identification Notes
  • Winter in Dorset every year in small numbers
  • Can be seen on mudlfats feeding at low tide but often on there own rather than social groups
  • A plump bird with a short neck and horizontal stance