Friday, October 14, 2011

American Golden Plover (Pluvialis dominica)

I am continuing to post about my findings on the Columbus Day weekend.  A rarer bird to locate, although it is not unusual to find it, is the American Golden Plover (Pluvialis dominica). untitled _ROT8019 October 08, 2011 NIKON D3S The most common large plover that we see along the shore and on mowed fields is the Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola).(Shown here with a Greater Yellowlegs) untitled Black-belled Plover Greater YellowlegsMSB_9732 August 27, 2011 NIKON D300S

This summer, when I was up in Churchill, Manitoba, I was able to photograph the American Golden Plover in full breeding plumage. untitled D7K_0054 June 20, 2011 NIKON D7000untitled D7K_0064 June 20, 2011 NIKON D7000untitled D7K_9995 June 20, 2011 NIKON D7000 They are spotted gold and black on the crown, back and on their wings.  Their face and neck are black with a white border and they also have a black breast and a dark rump and their legs are black.  They breed in the Arctic tundra from northern Canada and Alaska, nesting on the ground in a dry open area.

They are a migratory bird and winter in southern South America.  It's migratory route is over 25,000 miles, and they fly 2400 miles over open ocean.  In the fall.  They migrate south in an easterly fashion.  When they return knots would they pass through Central America and central United States on their way north.

It is felt that the American Golden Plover and the Eskimo Curlews (which are now extinct) with a shorebirds that attracted the attention of Christopher Columbus in early October 1492.  So I guess it's appropriate that it was on Columbus Day weekend when I found the migratory American Golden plovers on two separate days in two separate locations.  First, I found them on Sachuest Salt Marsh  in Middletown, Rhode Island untitled Ameican Golden Plover_ROT8027 October 08, 2011 NIKON D3Sand the next day on the Fuller Street fields,untitled D7K_5742 October 09, 2011 NIKON D7000 which is part of the Cumberland's IBA in Middleborough, Mass.

The American Golden Plover is similar to two other golden plovers, Eurasian and Pacific.

For all of you who live along the Eastern coast of the United States, keep an eye open for the American Golden Plover as it migrates southward This fall.