Wednesday, September 4, 2013

American Golden Plover

 These were the conditions at Cochrane Pond Road this morning. Look closely and you can barely make out 3 large plovers near the grass line. The fog had a way of making the birds look very big. It looked like turkeys on the horizon.
 With time, the birds began to move closer to the road. It was a good thing, too, because I was getting distracted by the flock of about 50 Yellow-rumped Warblers that lined the road when I drove in.
 When the plovers came closer, it was easy to identify the American Golden Plovers. There were actually traces of the golden brown feathers showing. The dark cap on the head was another factor.
 This is the closest, as far as it was, as I have ever been to this species. I guess that is why I spent the whole morning in the area.
 I was still struggling to get good looks at these and the small bird that I identified as a Semipalmated Sandpiper, the 10 Wilson's Snipe and about 10 Semipalmated Plover. It was in the midst of that when a flock of crows moved in and in their gregarious way flushed the plovers. I thought for sure I was seeing a mixed flock of Black-bellied Plover and Golden Plover, but once they were in the air, it was clear - they were all American Golden Plover. I took several shots while they were in the air and the highest count in one picture was 65.
 Initially, I thought there were about 25. As they circled the field, more and more joined the group until at least 65 were spinning around. Not one black armpit among them. I did find one bird in this picture that is clearly not a plover. I sent it to Dave Brown to ask for his help on an ID. Will let you know when I find out.  The above picture has one bird that may or may not be a Golden Plover. I have drawn an arrow to the odd bird in both shots.

Last, but not least is a shot of one of the many snipe in the field. Getting really good looks at shorebirds is next to impossible without a scope. Be sure to click on the image to enlarge the photos.

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