Our final flock is this group of 12 similar-looking birds flying over a grassy field with a horse in the background. The pointed longish wings with white wing-bars and dangling legs on a few birds are strong hints that we are looking at a flock of waders (probably coming in to land). That having been established, the next big clue comes from the short, straight, fine bills, which in wader terms implies these are probably plovers. The next big clue is in the colour of the upperparts, which are spangled gold and black. These are one of the golden plover species. Luckily, a couple of the birds are showing the white axillaries, or ‘armpits’, characteristic of (European) Golden Plovers.
KEY FEATURES Classic plover-shaped birds (short bill, pointed wings) White wing-bar Golden-spangled upperparts White axillaries unique to European Golden Plover
White underwing Golden, spangled plumage Short, fine ‘plover’ bill