Dotterel Displaying

Cairngorm National Park, Scotland


On my way for a days walk, a female dotterel came walking towards me on the path.  Her beautiful chestnut feathers were all puffed up and she was busy walking about looking for food.  It was a mild day so she was able to pick off their favourite food leather jackets.  I sat down to watch her scurrying about and then she went off to take a drink of water.  Next thing I saw was another bird coming towards her, very clearly a male as it’s feathers are much paler than the female.  This was the first time I had seen the dotterel and was amazed at how confiding they were but clearly other things were on their mind.  I then just froze and my heart was palpitating when I saw the male starting to display to the female and I could not believe it when she was clearly impressed enough to let the male copulate with her.   It was all over in a split second and then they went off on their separate ways.  I was absolutely overwhelmed by the experience and one I shall never forget.

Field Notes

Camera: Nikon D700

Lens: 300mm F4 with x1.4 teleconverter

Aperture: F/7.1

Exposure: 1/800 sec

ISO: 400