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Friday, 2 November 2012

First twitchable AGP for Oxfordshire but make sure you see the right bird

The real McCoy (upper 3 images) and the imposter (grey bird in the middle of flock) (taken by Jason Coppock) Check out and Bookmark Jason's 'Oxon Bird Log' for all the latest Oxfordshire Bird News.

Having not seen the previous AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER in Oxfordshire, I was very keen to get my eye on to this one and hence a visit this morning...

The Golden Plover flock today were particularly flighty and difficult to pin down but eventually landed long enough to enable a proper perusal. There were a total of 699 birds all told, give or take perhaps 3% error. What soon became apparent was that there were two very interesting birds in the flock - the juvenile AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER and a very striking and eye-catching pale (grey) Golden Plover which, when it revealed its white underwing, was a particularly grey adult European Golden Plover with an obvious white eye-stripe. Adam Hartley (the AGP finder and Port Meadow obsessive) had seen this bird within the flock several times previously but it did cause major problems with those twitching the flock.

The real AGP was nothing like as distinctive as this bird, being overall very beige-grey in colouration but with distinctively longer legs, a much smaller and slimmer body, diagnostic tapered primaries with long projection and dark smoky underwing coverts/axillaries. It was a much smaller bird compared to the European Goldies but make sure if you visit that you see the correct bird......

Port Meadow also held 5 Dunlin and 35 Common Snipe, along with a large number of wildfowl, including 460 Common Teal, 128 Wigeon, 42 Gadwall and 18 Shoveler.

At nearby FARMOOR RESERVOIRS, I could only find one of the SLAVONIAN GREBES and one of the female GREATER SCAUPS, along with 45 Great Crested Grebes and 2 female Common Goldeneyes. Fabulous new hide on the main causeway but shame that the door doesn't fit !