On 16 Aug 2013 Ken Knowles picked out a suspicious plover at Renews beach, Avalon Peninsula . His photos were circulated among local birders and it was agreed upon to be a COMMON RINGED PLOVER (CRPL). CRPL is pretty well annual on the Avalon Peninsula in August but still considered an exciting rarity.
On 17 August visiting birder, Nathan Hentze and I went to Renews. We found the bird right away and watched it for about 2 hours. Photos were difficult because of glare from sun. On Sunday I went to Renews again for a more serious attempt at photos. I wore a Kelp Camouflage Suit and sat on a rock out on the flats at full tide and waited for it to fall. The bright sun was more at my back but it was still a harsh light. The CRPL was more wary than the Semipalmated Plovers and various peeps that walked regularly within 10 metres of Kelp Man sitting on the rock. The CRPL was typically 20-40 metres distance.
Wanted to get a few pictures posted tonight for those that might want to look for. More pictures later when I get a chance to go through them all.
An adult Common Ringed Plover. Possibly a female based on the dullness of the black. The long white supercilium contrasting with the dark cheek patch was the easiet way to pick out the bird from the crowd.
The bill was longer and the breast band was wider than most of the Semipalmated Plovers. Note the lack of coloured orbital characteristic of Ringed Plover
A sun bleach photo shows details of the dark feathering in the lores reaching the gape of the bill.
Semipalmated on the left and Ringed on the right. The Ringed Plover was a little bigger and more elongated in shape. The back was more sloping and less domed than the Semipalmated Plovers. Semipalmateds have a smaller more rounded head like a little ping pong ball. The Ringed was also paler above than the other 20 Semipalmated Plovers.
Why wouldn't the Ringed Plover come this close?? A typical looking Semipalmated Plover showing the pinched in brown area at the lores. Note the coloured orbital ring, narrow curved supercilium, short stubby bill. This one has a very narrow breast band flecked with brown.
To be continued...
First ever published photo of Kelp Man. Almost never seen in public, this is a self-taken photo using an Iphone just before stalking the Ringed Plover. When properly used shorebirds are completely fooled. Have had them walking around my feet completely at ease, but the birds far enough away to focus the lens on never look toward the camera because they don't know you are there. It was a Semipalmated Plover that spoiled ultimate frame filler shots of the Ringed Plover on 18 Aug 2013. It set up a feeding territory between me and the Ringed Plover. When the Ringed Plover headed my way it was chased back by the Semipalmated. Kelp suits can be bought at hunting stores in Newfoundland but are likely to be marketed as 'Oak Woodland' camouflage.