[va-bird] Notes on golden-plovers
- From: Phoebetria@xxxxxxx
- To: va-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Wed, 10 Sep 2003 18:19:59 EDT
Now that Pacific Golden-Plovers are documented from four states to our north= =20 on the Atlantic coast (as well as from Greenland, Bermuda, and the West=20 Indies), we should be on the lookout for them in our local flocks here. A t= rue=20 skeptic would say that we haven't "really" identified any of our local=20 golden-plovers as American Golden-Plovers until we carefully eliminate the o= ther two=20 species. Eurasian/European Golden-Plover tends to stand out nicely in my=20 experience with the species (annually in Iceland), and a single American sta= nds out=20 nicely in a flock of Europeans. I have never seen a Pacific Golden-Plover,=20 however, and I have often thought it would be too difficult to separate one=20= from a=20 flock of Americans. Virginia does get its share of visitors from Siberia an= d=20 western Alaska, however, so it would be good for state birders to be prepare= d=20 to identify a Pacific Golden-Plover. Most field guides provide only partial= =20 clues to the field separation of the two. =20 Birders fortunate enough to see the recent Pacific Golden-Plover on Long=20 Island were kind enough to pass on their observations of the differences bet= ween=20 the two, which I list out below. Some of these marks will be difficult to m= ake=20 out at a distance (especially the number of exposed primaries past the=20 tertials, one of the "gold" standards for distinguishing the species), but o= thers=20 are straightforward and could be used at medium distances to narrow down the= =20 list of candidates. The list of 15 points includes (field characters pertai= ning=20 mostly to adults): 1) The absence of an (elevated) hind toe automatically eliminates=20 Black-bellied Plover. 2) Having ascertained it's a golden-plover, and you see it in flight, check= =20 to if the toes extend beyond the tail, a good mark for Pacific, which is=20 longer-legged than American.=20 3) The bill of Pacific looks big without a smaller, swollen, pointed tip. 4) The legs of Pacific are and look longer than American=E2=80=99s, especia= lly above=20 the heel. =20 5) Pacific has very long tertials, but especially if there are 6) only 2-3 primaries (instead of 4) showing beyond them, leading to 7) a very blunt-ended rear and an overall shape much more like a=20 Black-bellied (accentuated by the big bill). 8) When viewed form the rear, the broad dark nape band is essentially=20 =E2=80=9Cunpinched in=E2=80=9D and assuredly not narrow (compare this to any= American). =20 =20 9) If visible (and it will sometimes not be, as the underpart/breast=20 feathers can overlap here), the white stripe down the side is complete to th= e=20 crissum, contra American. =20 10) The crissum is always totally white with NO black feathers, contra=20 American. =20 11) The pileum is weak and diffuse (no yarmulke effect whatsoever), contra=20 American. =20 12) The white eyestripe tends to drop down very quickly behind=20 the eye, contra American. =20 =20 13) The notches on the tertials are smaller and more numerous than in=20 American. =20 14) In flight, the wings do not look as sleek as American=E2=80=99s.=20 15) The back spotting may look a bit different if the bird is mixed in with= =20 Americans. =20 Maybe one day! Ned Brinkley Cape Charles, VA You are subscribed to VA-BIRD. To post to this mailing list, simply send email to va-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx To unsubscribe, send email to va-bird-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with 'unsubscribe' in the Subject field.
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