SOCIABLE PLOVER Vanellus gregarius

Becoming steadily rarer because of habitat loss, this Central Asia species was formerly recorded in England fairly often, being quite prone to vagrancy. However, it has now become a major rarity again, the right-hand shot was taken at Rainham in 2005, unfortunately a major fire several miles away caused almost smog-like conditions at times. Much of the population now breeds in Northern Kazakhstan steppes, which are under threat, but there is a conservation project underway, who also guide visitors, hence the other photos.

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