I could watch Golden Plover flocks all day, especially when they take to the wing. This is when they're transformed from the shy, slow moving waders of open grassland and moors to sky dancers; often circling endlessly across the sky back and forwards from horizon to horizon. Whenever I see them - and even more so when I hear them - I'm taken back to wilder landscapes than the farmland that dominates so much of the peninsula.
From searching for golden-spangled breeding birds on long hot May days, across upland bogs white with Cottongrass, high above the Derwent Valley in Derbyshire's lovely Peak District, to watching resting flocks of autumn migrants on Unst - the most northerly of the Shetland Isles - they've always been a delight to encounter. A flock of c.100 circling the Llanengan floods late afternoon today were as captivating as ever.
A single adult Mediterranean Gull, 47 Teal, 16 Wigeon and 60 Curlew were virtually the only other birds present but the Goldies stole the show.