It was about 3am, still very cold and dark out, when I first awoke. All was peaceful and then, suddenly, I heard it again, ringing through the stillness...a plover calling "danger, danger" to its mate. I live near the ocean and am blessed to have a stand of gum trees nearby amongst a small group of hillocks that stand almost next to a bay-bound canal. Beneath these gums is a nest, resting in the grass, of plover eggs. I think there are only two eggs at present, though they may lay more....
There are obvious hazards in making a ground nest...many predators lurk, not to mention careless walkers on a nearby path, stray dogs and cats,cyclists and curious onlookers; all in all not the most secure place to prepare for raising a family, one would think. And yet these tenacious birds, about the size of a pigeon but with longer legs, persevere in guarding and tending their shellbound embryos day and night.
They use all manner of tactics to deter sundry attackers, including charges, loud calls and the menacing spreading of their pretty wings. I can only surmise that they meet with some success, as there are many of them living in my bayside area. I am in awe of their courage as they face down any perceived threat, often in the form of something much larger than themselves. They are quite active at night, and whatever it was that set them calling this morning I can only wonder.
Perhaps it was a prowling moggie or another night bird; whatever it was, my heart went out to these plucky avians as they faced down the danger. I imagined two rapidly beating hearts and powerful surges of adrenaline as they strutted with bravado against the foe. I hope their eggs are still safe and that their next nocturne is a more peaceful one. After all, with chicks as cute as the one below, surely the battles are worth it?
Now the plovers are quiet; there is only the sounds of the breaking dawn as the sky begins to slowly light. My Tig is beside me as I write, her days of night prowling long since past as she prefers the comfort of a warm bed. Her blue eyes are questioning mine: will we go back now and sleep some more? I wonder: will we? What do you think? :)