Monday 5 December 2016

PACIFIC !?!?! GOLDEN PLOVER - Dec 5, 2016 in Newfoundland

Attached are rushed pictures just to get images of this plover out there for opinion.  It was at Pt. La Haye, St. Mary's Bay, Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland found today 5 Dec 2016 by Ken Knowles and myself.  It was refound later in the afternoon 1 km away on the barachios beach and seen by Paul Lineger, Vernon Buckle and Alison Mews.

Photos have been sent to shorebird experts for opinion but surely there can be only one answer - Pacific Golden Plover. More later tonight or tomorrow.

CONFIRMED !!! Highly experienced shorebird enthusiast Killian Mullarney of Ireland was the first to reply with this endorsement.  (8 pm 5 Dec 2016). 
100% Pacific. It simply could not be more perfect...the overall structure and 'character', the short primary-projection involving just three tips, the longest two almost the same length, the yellowness of the crown, sides of head and upperparts, maybe even the proportionately big bill (though this last is very subjective and sometimes dominica can look heavy-billed). Obviously European Golden Plover is a completely different bird when views are this good, but it is nice to see a glimpse of the grey axillaries in one shot!


  1. I'm no expert, but since your discovery today, I have done enough reading about this species. The literature supports your find 100%. Of course, I smiled when I read where you said you've sent it off for expert opinions, because for so many of us fortunate to "Bird" in your circle, the buck stops with you!
    Of course, knowing you had KK with you to bounce the considerations back and forth with, only added to the confirmation of a great find :). Another great find by you! Thank you

  2. Thanks and great find. When you have more time for it, perhaps walk us through the identification more slowly? Am curious what alerted you to the likelihood in the first place. Just an out-of-season golden plover inviting consideration of the possibilities? Or sufficiently different looking that you knew you were on to something?

  3. Nick - Good questions. When I saw the bird come in for a landing near me and I realized it was a Golden Plover I automatically focused on the underwings and had good glimpses of the gray brown wash. Euro GPs have snow white under wings. The rich golden back and scapulars and crown struck me. I knew this was more than a juv American Golden Plover. But the strongest gut feelings that this wasn't an American came from the relatively large proportions of pale areas compared to the dark areas in the barring on the upper parts overall. More checkered overall. And the shape - squat but not dumpy. Subtle things that stood out when you are used to seeing only Am GP in juvenile plumage. I knew it was a Pacific Golden Plover but required advice from experts to solidify the feeling. I knew there was detail in the primary/tertial pattern that needed to be photographed.

  4. Thanks! Very helpful. I see in Jared Clarke's "Bird the Rock" listings that this is only the 5th record for Newfoundland! And all those in the last decade. Any idea whether the change is owing to these only now showing up there or to observation becoming more discerning?


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