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Wednesday, 22 April 2009

The recent first-summer AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER at Breydon Water, Norfolk

This problematic plover was present at Breydon Water (Norfolk) from 6-16 April. I eventually saw it on 15 April and concluded like many others had done so before me (including Lee Gregory, Brian Small and Baz Harding) that it was an AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER.
A summary of the criteria used to come to this conclusion has been published on Surfbirds, in the Rare Bird Information Discussion section.
Dave Holman and Christine Stean very kindly supplied me the images above and this short note accompanying it.

Sorry for delay, as promised have attached some of our American Golden Plover photos.

As I explained to you I went down the uncertainty road on the first day (6th) when I saw the bird a couple of times in misty conditions and generally resting; I think that I phoned it out as an either/or. On the 7th the visibility was better but the bird was quite distant and generally resting mostly with its left side on view. The bird held its left wing slightly loose so it was hard to assess length of wing and the general shape of the bird often took on a rather rounded look. I Queried the apparently short tertials but AG was becoming firmly in the Pacific camp so I phoned it out as a probable Pacific. On the 9th I again watched it rather more closely but still viewing its left side, I was feeling far less comfortable about its ID. Finally I returned on the 12th and had much better views of the bird both feeding and resting but often viewing its sleeker right side. I watched it with Peter Allard and we both were happy that it was in fact an American Golden Plover. As we were about to leave it flew off calling twice a rather slowed down Spotted Redshank like "Chu--wit" which I have heard from American GP in the past.

Hope pics are of use.


Dave Holman