Mountaineers needed to find dotterel in Snowdonia


Do you spend time on the high summits of Snowdonia?  Can you help us to track down the dotterel, a beautiful and  special bird of high mountain places?

The dotterel has a most unusual life story.  Female dotterels are more brightly coloured than males, and it is the females which do most of the courtship displaying. Male dotterels on the other hand do most of the work of incubating the eggs and rearing the chicks.

As if that were not enough, many of the female dotterels who lay a batch of eggs in Britain leave them behind in the care of the male and fly to the high Arctic, raising a second brood by a different male.

Dotterel are extraordinarily confiding birds; it is not unusual to almost tread on them or to watch them at just a few yards distance.  Clearly we must take care to avoid disturbing them and must be responsible about dogs on the summits.

Dotterel in Snowdonia seek out the very highest ground, but they don’t like jagged rocks or deep gullies, so they are most often encountered on the windswept broad ridges and plateaux, almost always above 700m.

We expect the dotterel to arrive any day now –  May is the peak time for sightings, and they are often seen in small groups.   We want to know more about which areas they are using and when, and we will pass your records on to the British Trust for Ornithology to contribute to the wider knowledge of this fascinating bird.

If you are fortunate enough to see a dotterel (they are not common) please let us know by email to and if possible include a photo.

Watch this lovely video to whet your appetite for seeing them!  And please pass the request for sightings on to other mountaineers.

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