Saturday 23 August 2014

Common Ringed Plover - *NEW BIRD*!

Made my way down to the southern shore of the avalon peninsula today. Was hoping for a good passerine day - which transpired, but that wasn't the main highlight! After 11 species of warbler I got picked up by some other birders and dropped off at Portugal Cove South where after an hour of wandering around I stumbled upon another adult Common Ringed Plover!

This one was on a rocky beach with kelp which made it easier to approach and get up close looks at it. Which was great for local birders Andrea & Lancy who got their first ever looks at this tough to pick out species! And also great for me to get photos :)

First thing that made me look at this bird was the mere fact that it was an adult. All the Semipalmated Plovers I saw today were juveniles. I didn't think much of it at first though because the supercilium wasn't prominent. Then the bird turned towards me and the breast band looked unusually broad. The mantle seemed slightly paler than I would expect for a SEPL - but having no adult SEPLs around made it hard to compare. Luckily the bird was very confiding and I was able to get several up close photos of this bird to confirm that it was an adult CRPL. This is the 14th record for the island, and the second one this month.

My favourite photo of the day:
Shows everything you need to see. Broad breast band, lores meet the gape of the bill, no yellow/orange eye ring, and no webbing between the outer and inner toes.

 One thing I've noted about both CRPLs I've now seen in Newfoundland is that they have a habit of chasing away any Semipalmated Plovers that come too close to it:

Breast band at its broadest:

 Close crop of the face give a better look at the lores and lack of eye ring:

Interestingly, this photo shows a small amount of webbing between the outer and middle toes of the left foot.

But comparing the webbing in todays bird to a photo of a juvenile SEPL taken a couple weeks ago, you can see that the webbing in a SEPLs foot is much more extensive:

Another angle of the birds foot showing very little to no webbing:

2 Common Ringed Plovers in 8 days... Not bad! But maybe we're over looking them and these shouldn't be as notable as I'm making them out to be? Definitely a hard species to pick out from the masses of Semipalmated Plovers - but if you know what to look for and spend some time looking at your Semipalmated Plovers we may very well learn that they aren't as remarkable of a record as we thought!

The real challenge is finding a juvenile Common Ringed Plover!


Northern Waterthrushes were very common today:

Most noteworthy of todays 11 species of warbler was this hatch year Tennessee Warbler:
Note the very pointed bill and supercilium/eyebrow that stands out from the eye line and crown.

Next photo shows the broken eye ring and white undertail coverts. Orange-crowned Warbler can look very similar but has more yellow to the under tail coverts, and a longer tail.