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OH, THAT PLOVER

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  • Debi Shearwater
    Hi, Folks, I ve been inundated with questions about the LESSER SAND PLOVER that was seen and photographed on the August 29, 2004 Shearwater Journey s pelagic
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 3, 2004
      Hi, Folks,
      I've been inundated with questions about the LESSER SAND PLOVER that was
      seen and photographed on the August 29, 2004 Shearwater Journey's pelagic
      trip from Monterey. To answer a few of the questions that have come in:

      During fall migration, especially on highly overcast days, both songbirds
      and shorebirds will often land or fly by our boat. That is why the
      Townsend's Warbler was flying around our boat for hours, sometimes landing
      on people, but often tucked in the life rafts. Shorebirds rarely land on the
      boat, but we see many flying by. Its worth noting that we also recorded 1
      Whimbrel, 15 Marbled Godwits, and a Least Sandpiper. ALL of these shorebirds
      were about 15 miles offshore. All but the Least Sandpiper just flew past the
      boat. As I had mentioned, the Least landed on the stern gunnels, and on top
      of various partipant's heads!!

      The Lesser Sand Plover never landed, at least not that I observed. This is
      typical. It was 15.2 nautical miles west of Point Pinos. So, we did not see
      it on a mud flat on the way out of the harbor. (There is none, anyway). We
      did not see it sitting on a piece of driftwood. We did not see it on an
      island offshore. It was just flying circles around our boat! We're used to
      this sort of thing, having recorded over 100 "non-pelagic" species of birds
      on our pelagic trips! Heck, some folks have recorded their life Short-eared
      Owl on our trips, and once we saw a Burrowing Owl 44 miles offshore!

      I hope that this will explain HOW we saw the plover. It never sat down. Many
      other questions have been generated concerning the correct identification of
      the plover. This is great, and we welcome it. Photographing the plover while
      it was in flight, and while the vessel was moving, wasn't easy. Plus, once
      we had figured out that it was a Lesser Sand Plover, we only got about 3
      more passes of the bird before it was gone. The photographs that were put on
      the web site were enchanced. Please look for a post of the original
      photographs, unenhanced on our web site. The unenhanced photos will look a
      little different, but they still do not show the bird as well as seeing it
      in real life. Ryan Terrill got some videotape of the plover, which we hope
      to post. We will continue to discuss the identification of the plover, but
      it should be noted that these plovers can show a whitish hind collar, as has
      been documented in Asia. So, we will have more on the id front, and welcome
      this discussion.

      I'd like to hear what you think when you see the unenhanced photos. Thanks
      to everyone for participating in this discussion.

      Shearwaters forever,
      Debi
      ---
      http://www.shearwaterjourneys.com
      Debi Shearwater <debiluv@...>
      Shearwater Journeys
      P.O. Box 190
      Hollister, CA 95024
      831-637-8527
    • Jim Lomax
      Subject: [CALBIRDS] OH, THAT PLOVER the LESSER SAND PLOVER that was seen and photographed on the August 29, 2004 Shearwater Journey s pelagic questions have
      Message 2 of 4 , Sep 3, 2004
        Subject: [CALBIRDS] OH, THAT PLOVER


        "the LESSER SAND PLOVER that was
        seen and photographed on the August 29, 2004 Shearwater Journey's pelagic"

        "questions have been generated concerning the correct identification of
        the plover. This is great, and we welcome it. We will continue to discuss the identification of the plover, but
        it should be noted that these plovers can show a whitish hind collar, as has
        been documented in Asia. I'd like to hear what you think when you see the unenhanced photos. Thanks
        to everyone for participating in this discussion."
        ................ .................. ................... .............. .................... ............


        Such an invitation, that I'm powerless to avoid embarrassing myself. If there's one thing I've learned in the years I've been birding, it's that the more I know, the less I know. But I wonder why this bird isn't a Wilson's Plover. To wit:

        Given that the whitish hind collar may also occur on Lesser Sand Plovers in Asia (and I wouldn't know having never birded there), I have seen Mongolian now Lesser Sand Plovers in the Marianas Islands none with the collar. However I'll lean towards that being a neutral ID factor for now.

        More the bill in the photos looks awfully large and long for Lesser. And the tail pattern bothers me. Lesser should have brown plumage to near the end of the tail on the dorsal side and dark or black across the entire end of the tail. Wilson's, on the other hand, has brown extending to that same black band, but with extensive white along the sides of the tail on the dorsal side just as suggested in the photos. Thus, from the photos provided, I wonder with the bill, tail pattern, and white hind collar combined, it's not a Wilson's. Obviously, I have much to learn.

        Standing by for chastisement.

        Jim Lomax
        Solitary Birder
        from no Particular Place





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • John Sterling
        Howdy Birders, I think that Lomax is correct....I just looked at the photos on Debbie s website, and I agree that it sure looks a lot more like a Wilson s
        Message 3 of 4 , Sep 3, 2004
          Howdy Birders,
          I think that Lomax is correct....I just looked at the photos on Debbie's
          website, and I agree that it sure looks a lot more like a Wilson's Plover
          than a sandplover for all of the reasons that Lomax stated, plus the
          wingstripe is very bold and long....and the face just doesn't look quite
          right for sandplover. I cannot see why it isn't a Wilson's Plover.

          just my two cents

          John Sterling
          VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV

          26 Palm Ave
          Woodland, CA 95695

          530-668-1985 (home)
          530-668-8694 (home office)
          916-752-0899 (Cell)
          916-737-3000 (Sacramento Office)

          ani@...
          JSterling@...
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Debi Shearwater" <debiluv@...>
          To: <calbirds@yahoogroups.com>; <pelagics@yahoogroups.com>;
          "mbb@..." <mbb@...>
          Sent: Friday, September 03, 2004 2:56 PM
          Subject: [CALBIRDS] OH, THAT PLOVER


          > Hi, Folks,
          > I've been inundated with questions about the LESSER SAND PLOVER that was
          > seen and photographed on the August 29, 2004 Shearwater Journey's pelagic
          > trip from Monterey. To answer a few of the questions that have come in:
          >
          > During fall migration, especially on highly overcast days, both songbirds
          > and shorebirds will often land or fly by our boat. That is why the
          > Townsend's Warbler was flying around our boat for hours, sometimes landing
          > on people, but often tucked in the life rafts. Shorebirds rarely land on
          the
          > boat, but we see many flying by. Its worth noting that we also recorded 1
          > Whimbrel, 15 Marbled Godwits, and a Least Sandpiper. ALL of these
          shorebirds
          > were about 15 miles offshore. All but the Least Sandpiper just flew past
          the
          > boat. As I had mentioned, the Least landed on the stern gunnels, and on
          top
          > of various partipant's heads!!
          >
          > The Lesser Sand Plover never landed, at least not that I observed. This is
          > typical. It was 15.2 nautical miles west of Point Pinos. So, we did not
          see
          > it on a mud flat on the way out of the harbor. (There is none, anyway). We
          > did not see it sitting on a piece of driftwood. We did not see it on an
          > island offshore. It was just flying circles around our boat! We're used to
          > this sort of thing, having recorded over 100 "non-pelagic" species of
          birds
          > on our pelagic trips! Heck, some folks have recorded their life
          Short-eared
          > Owl on our trips, and once we saw a Burrowing Owl 44 miles offshore!
          >
          > I hope that this will explain HOW we saw the plover. It never sat down.
          Many
          > other questions have been generated concerning the correct identification
          of
          > the plover. This is great, and we welcome it. Photographing the plover
          while
          > it was in flight, and while the vessel was moving, wasn't easy. Plus, once
          > we had figured out that it was a Lesser Sand Plover, we only got about 3
          > more passes of the bird before it was gone. The photographs that were put
          on
          > the web site were enchanced. Please look for a post of the original
          > photographs, unenhanced on our web site. The unenhanced photos will look a
          > little different, but they still do not show the bird as well as seeing it
          > in real life. Ryan Terrill got some videotape of the plover, which we hope
          > to post. We will continue to discuss the identification of the plover, but
          > it should be noted that these plovers can show a whitish hind collar, as
          has
          > been documented in Asia. So, we will have more on the id front, and
          welcome
          > this discussion.
          >
          > I'd like to hear what you think when you see the unenhanced photos. Thanks
          > to everyone for participating in this discussion.
          >
          > Shearwaters forever,
          > Debi
          > ---
          > http://www.shearwaterjourneys.com
          > Debi Shearwater <debiluv@...>
          > Shearwater Journeys
          > P.O. Box 190
          > Hollister, CA 95024
          > 831-637-8527
          >
          >
          >
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        • MiriamEagl@aol.com
          Hi, all! I concur with Jim that the bill looks way too long for a Lesser Sand Plover; just for grins, I scanned and downloaded to the Calbirds photo gallery
          Message 4 of 4 , Sep 4, 2004
            Hi, all!

            I concur with Jim that the bill looks way too long for a Lesser Sand Plover;
            just for grins, I scanned and downloaded to the Calbirds photo gallery
            (under Shorebirds) a couple of photos (not the greatest) taken in Cairns,
            Australia, of both Lesser and Greater Sand Plovers, to show the difference in the
            bills. I'm not advocating another Greater Sand Plover necessarily, but I did
            want to draw attention to the bill.

            Take care,

            Mary Beth Stowe
            MiriamEagl@...
            San Diego, CA
            www.miriameaglemon.com



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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