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The Sand Scuttle

A couple of White-fronted Plovers in the soft morning sun

The panicked scuttle displayed the displeasure of my arrival.

The morning sun gently washed over the cool pale sands. The image that was painted would have overwhelmed even the finest artist with its grandeur.

The scuttle of safety.

In quite the contradictory way, the scuttle to hide alerted the careful observer of their presence.

The small flock of plovers – five, maybe six – stayed close together. Their eyes ever alert to the presence of danger.

The soft morning sun that washed over the sand provided the escape that they desperately wanted.

They stood still.

The visible became invisible. Well, almost invisible.

They continued to look around – the look of fear etched into their small, soft feathered faces.

This was their home. I was the stranger.

They peered at me with disgust as I slowly moved closer.

I was no threat to them.

In their eyes I was the predator. I was the giant. A threat to their fragile survival.

But I longed…I longed to draw nearer. I longed to be included…to be accepted.

Would they allow this giant…this predator…this threat to draw near?

Under their ever-watchful eyes I drew nearer.

I edged closer, one slow movement at the time.

They stood still… camouflaged against the sun tinted sands.

I dropped lower. The giant stooped to their level.

The predator became less of a threat.

I lay on the sand.



They stood a few meters away.



The fear that covered their faces turned into an awkward acceptance.

Maybe this giant – this predator – we can accept him after all.

We can allow him to draw near.

Allow him to see the world through our eyes.

In a world where acceptance is so scarce.

The plovers accept me into their flock.


To play your part in conserving species such as the White-fronted Plover, we encourage you to support the important work that BirdLife South Africa is doing.

The lone ranger...
A plover tucked low in the sand hidden against the sand

A White-fronted Plover in the middle of a sand oasis


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