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TITLE
Lapwings and Peewits in the Highlands
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_DESTHOMSON_09
PERIOD
1980s; 1990s
CREATOR
Desmond Nethersole-Thompson
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
1907
KEYWORDS
ornithology
bird watching
audio

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Desmond Nethersole-Thompson first came to the Highlands in 1932 to study birds. Following almost twenty years of study, mainly in the Spey Valley, he published his first account of the greenshank species. From 1964, he and his family lived each spring in a remote valley in Sutherland where they followed a population of greenshanks through many consecutive years. In this audio extract from 1980, Desmond describes lapwings and peewits.

Now, I have never worked on a social bird, but in Scotland, in the north here, we've got the most marvellous and wonderful sea cliffs and I've worked at them and sat and watched, although not specialised. And there you will get experiences throughout the time that you're there; everything is happening on a beach sea cliff. And you'll get the sights and sounds, and even the smells of a big seabird colony are quite unforgettable. And there's no need even to go as far as that. Lapwings, peewits, (green plovers, as you call them). If those were rare birds you would have people from all over Britain coming to see them. Watch them in the ploughlands, on the farms and the crofts anytime in the next few weeks, and you'll see the cock - beautiful plumage - working out, excavating a little, a little hollow, tossing material over his shoulders and then meeting up with the hen and the two working together. That is what we call the 'nest dance' or 'scraping ritual'. And they've got a special copulation flight, sort of like that corkscrew flight. And they've got the most amazing sex lives; in a group that I used to work in Spey Valley I could really say that they were in advance of their time for adultery was almost a way of life with them [Laughter]

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Lapwings and Peewits in the Highlands

1980s; 1990s

ornithology; bird watching; audio

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Bill Sinclair Audio: Bird Watching

Desmond Nethersole-Thompson first came to the Highlands in 1932 to study birds. Following almost twenty years of study, mainly in the Spey Valley, he published his first account of the greenshank species. From 1964, he and his family lived each spring in a remote valley in Sutherland where they followed a population of greenshanks through many consecutive years. In this audio extract from 1980, Desmond describes lapwings and peewits.<br /> <br /> Now, I have never worked on a social bird, but in Scotland, in the north here, we've got the most marvellous and wonderful sea cliffs and I've worked at them and sat and watched, although not specialised. And there you will get experiences throughout the time that you're there; everything is happening on a beach sea cliff. And you'll get the sights and sounds, and even the smells of a big seabird colony are quite unforgettable. And there's no need even to go as far as that. Lapwings, peewits, (green plovers, as you call them). If those were rare birds you would have people from all over Britain coming to see them. Watch them in the ploughlands, on the farms and the crofts anytime in the next few weeks, and you'll see the cock - beautiful plumage - working out, excavating a little, a little hollow, tossing material over his shoulders and then meeting up with the hen and the two working together. That is what we call the 'nest dance' or 'scraping ritual'. And they've got a special copulation flight, sort of like that corkscrew flight. And they've got the most amazing sex lives; in a group that I used to work in Spey Valley I could really say that they were in advance of their time for adultery was almost a way of life with them [Laughter]