Beware! It’s Plover Season

It’s spring.  Warmer days, baby lambs and calves are everywhere.  Daffodils, other assorted jonquils and bulbs are in flower. My tulips are budding up nicely and the leaves are starting to grow on the deciduous plants.  Nice.  The wet weather isn’t quite forgotten, a number of farm roads and laneways are still really muddy and will need repair, but that will have to wait until the busyness of calving peaks and troughs.  Some paddocks are badly pugged but hopefully time and the sun will do much to repair them, otherwise they will have to be drilled (new grass planted).  Spring, new life, no more winter, warmth and hope.

BUT!  Spring also means Plover Season.  A time for all runners to dread.

I start to run, over the cattle stop, up to the hay barn.  I look and listen anxiously, running forwards with nervous energy.  They see me coming, they start to squawk and cluck.  They take to the air.  I keep running, watching, waiting… hoping that this time they will understand that I mean no harm to their precious nest.

A plover in flight - see the nasty little spur on the wing? (
A plover in flight – see the nasty little spur on the wing? (

They circle around me.  I keep running.  OH NO!  I can’t see them.  I try and swivel around to see where they are AND THEN!  With precision timing I feel the rush of air from their wings right behind my neck and the high pitched terrifying squawk in my ear.  I scream and run faster.  Nasty little beasties.  These creatures are certainly no candidates for All Things Bright and Beautiful!

I've never been hit by a plover, I don't hang around that long! (
I’ve never been hit by a plover, I don’t hang around that long! (

Plovers are great parents.  They will do anything to protect their nest.  These particular plovers come back to the same place each spring.  I’ve been walking and running up our driveway for five years now.  For five years they have swooped at me and I have NEVER deviated from the road or harmed their babies.  Bird Brains!  That’s what they have!

I've seen plovers valiantly shieldingtheir babies from trucks on the side of the road - they are brave and fearless! (
I’ve seen plovers valiantly shielding heir babies from trucks on the side of the road – they are brave and fearless!  (

The only solution in Plover Season is to drive, yes, get in the old farm jeep and drive 500m through their territory and park at the dairy and run from there!

That’s what I did yesterday afternoon, I admitted defeat, left the plovers to their parenting and drove up to the dairy to start a run.  I didn’t feel like running, I was tired.  But I went anyway.  I love how dedication and discipline kick in when the feelings are going in another direction.  I felt wooden.  My pace was slow.  How am I ever going to build enough endurance puttering along like this?  I got to the turnaround point and thought I’M GOING FASTER!  and I did.  Form the first time I managed a reasonably decent negative split (23:05 and 20:38 for 7kms).  I went from feeling drab and down to feeling empowered.  I sustained a much faster pace for 3.5kms even though I didn’t feel like it.  I’m learning that my body can do so much more than I think it can!

And Plovers? They were still there.  I could hear them clucking away as I parked the jeep safely back at the house.  They didn’t get me, well, not this time!

Happy running 🙂

4 thoughts on “Beware! It’s Plover Season

  1. The primary school our sons to had a large grassed area out the front which had to be declared out of bounds every spring as the plovers had claimed it as their own. The area was surrounded by a ring road with parking which parents used when dropping off or collecting children. Many a parent was seen ‘running’ to and from their cars with plovers swooping.

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