Category
A
Status
Very rare
Breeding status
First Record
Last Recorded
2003

Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus


Kentish Plover photographed at Grandes Havres [GHA] on 6/5/2016. Photo: © Anthony Loaring
  Kentish Plover photographed at Grandes Havres [GHA] on 6/5/2016 Photo: © Anthony Loaring (visit site)

The Kentish Plover became extinct as a breeding bird in the Bailiwick in 1974.

Birds formerly bred on beaches along the west coast of Guernsey, in Herm and in Alderney. Smith thought of them as a summer visitor, leaving the islands in September/October. In 1866, Smith took it upon himself to search for nests of Kentish Plover and he found his first nest at Port Soif. As the distribution of Smith's book is limited we quote extensively from his account for this species as he took a special interest in it.

"In the summer of 1866 a friend and myself had a long search for the eggs of a pair we saw and were certain had eggs, as they practised all the usual devices to decoy us from them till my friend, actually thinking one of the birds to be be badly wounded, set his dog at it; after this all chance was over: this was in a small sandy bay called Port Soif, near the Grande Rocque Barracks. I mention this as I am certain these birds had eggs or young somewhere close to us, and this was the furthest point towards Vazon Bay from the Vale that I found them breeding. The sandy shores of Grand Havre and L'Ancresse Bay seem to be their head breeding-quarters in Guernsey. Though I only found one set of eggs in Grand Havre, I am sure there were three or four pairs of birds breeding there; the two eggs I found were lying with their thick ends just touching each other and half buried in the sand; there was no nest whatever, not even the sand hollowed out; they were in quite a bare place, just, and only just, above the high-water line of seaweed. I should not have found these if it had not been for the tracks of the birds immediately round them."

"In L'Ancresse Bay I was not equally fortunate, but there were quite as many pairs of birds breeding there. In Herm the shell-beach seems to be their head breeding quarters, and there Mr Howard Saunders, Colonel L'Estrange and myself found several sets of eggs, generally three in number, but in one or two instances four..."

Dobson also seemed to have an interest in Kentish Plovers. He carried out a survey just before the start of the Second World War. He writes:

"... whilst in the course of the three days May 17th, May 31st and June 1st 1939, which I spent in Guernsey in search of this species, I found the eggs or young of no less than eleven pairs of Kentish Plovers, all between Grandes Rocques Hotel and La Baie de la Jaonneuse, Mont Cuet; none was found east of this and none south of Grandes Rocques. Kevin Le Cocq and I revisited all this area in 1946; the Germans had heavily fortified this part of the coast during the occupation and had evidently disturbed the birds, for we only found two breeding pairs, both of which were nesting on the same patch of shingle near Le Dic."

There were also reports of birds nesting in Herm around Shell Beach and in 1921 G.F.B. de Gruchy found a dozen pairs on the north-west beaches but none on Shell Beach itself. In 1923 B.W. Tucker visited Herm in July and found eggs and young near Shell Beach. Dobson and H.E. Godbolt visited in 1937 and found "fair numbers' of birds nesting both on the beach itself and "more commonly, on the grassland above the beach. On June 1st 1939 Dobson visited again and found the eggs or young of 8 pairs of birds. After the war in 1946 he visited again on 9 May and 13 June and found only 6 pairs, a decrease on the prewar surveys.

Birds also bred in Alderney. E.D. Marquand found the in considerable numbers on Platte Saline beach c. 1900 and in 1921 W.R. Thompson wrote that it was a fairly common summer visitor and he had shot one on 27 March 1919 which he considered a very early date. De Gruchy found 2 or 3 pairs in Platte Saline in 1923 and Dobson and le Cocq found four pairs in 1946. Breeding was also recorded in 1950 and 1951.

Numbers of Kentish Plovers declined throughout the 1960s and 1970s and the last breeding attempt was in 1974 at Rue de la Rocque. Four birds were also seen on Herm on 21 July 1974 which suggests they may have attempted to breed there also. Since these last breeding attempts the Kentish Plover has become a very scarce migrant.



View all photos (6)
Kentish Plover photographed at Grandes Havres [GHA] on 6/5/2016. Photo: © Anthony Loaring
Kentish Plover photographed at Grandes Havres [GHA] on 6/5/2016. Photo: © Anthony Loaring (visit site)

Kentish Plover photographed at Grandes Havres [GHA] on 6/5/2016. Photo: © Anthony Loaring
Kentish Plover photographed at Grandes Havres [GHA] on 6/5/2016. Photo: © Anthony Loaring (visit site)

Kentish Plover photographed at Grandes Havres [GHA] on 6/5/2016. Photo: © Andy Marquis
Kentish Plover photographed at Grandes Havres [GHA] on 6/5/2016. Photo: © Andy Marquis (visit site)

Kentish Plover photographed at Vazon [VAZ] on 11/5/2003. Photo: © Barry Wells
Kentish Plover photographed at Vazon [VAZ] on 11/5/2003. Photo: © Barry Wells (visit site)

Kentish Plover photographed at Grandes Havres [GHA] on 6/5/2016. Photo: © Mark Guppy
Kentish Plover photographed at Grandes Havres [GHA] on 6/5/2016. Photo: © Mark Guppy (visit site)

Kentish Plover photographed at Grandes Havres [GHA] on 6/5/2016. Photo: © Mark Lawlor
Kentish Plover photographed at Grandes Havres [GHA] on 6/5/2016. Photo: © Mark Lawlor (visit site)

 


View database records (20)
Kentish Plover Richmond 7/9/1995 12/9/1995 1
Kentish Plover Richmond 8/8/1999 9/8/1999 1
Kentish Plover Vazon 11/5/2003 1
Kentish Plover Vazon 11/5/2003 1
Kentish Plover Vazon 19/9/2003 1
Kentish Plover Grandes Havres [GHA] 6/5/2016 1
Kentish Plover Grandes Havres [GHA] 6/5/2016 1
Kentish Plover Grandes Havres [GHA] 6/5/2016 1
Kentish Plover Grandes Havres [GHA] 6/5/2016 1
Kentish Plover Grandes Havres [GHA] 6/5/2016 1
Kentish Plover Grandes Havres [GHA] 6/5/2016 1
Kentish Plover Grandes Havres [GHA] 6/5/2016 1
Kentish Plover Grandes Havres [GHA] 6/5/2016 1
Kentish Plover Grandes Havres [GHA] 6/5/2016 1
Kentish Plover Grandes Havres [GHA] 6/5/2016 1
Kentish Plover Grandes Havres [GHA] 6/5/2016 1
Kentish Plover Grandes Havres [GHA] 6/5/2016 1
Kentish Plover Grandes Havres [GHA] 6/5/2016 1
Kentish Plover Grandes Havres [GHA] 6/5/2016 1
Kentish Plover Grandes Havres [GHA] 7/5/2016 1