28th September 2012 – A new AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER on the patch!!

My intention today was to look for the Long-billed Dowitcher that was reported yesterday, but first I had to drop my car off at the garage. Tracy collected me from the garage in her car and then we went up to Drumburgh to have a quick look for the Dowitcher before the tide came in. Out on the mud there were plenty of waders, Knot, Dunlin, Barwits, 1 Blackwit, and loads of Lapwings and Golden Plovers. A large flock of goldies was roosting out there and I began to scan through them, quickly noticing what I thought was my original American Golden Plover. It was ‘back-on’ standing on one spindly leg, but the contrast between it and the goldies around was incredibly obvious. It was smaller and the upperparts looked almost black at this distance and when it turned it’s head side on I could clearly see a stonking white ‘super’ and a black-capped appearance. But then it turned and stood side on and I could see this bird was largely white underneath with just a few black patches. Eh??? That’s not the bird that’s been knocking about! It had a long attenuated profile and was clearly an American Goldie though, I hadn’t seen the bird for 4 days but surely they don’t moult that quick!! Had I finally lost the plot!? I needed reassurance. Thankfully Tracy easily picked the bird out herself in her scope and could vouch that no I wasn’t going crazy at all! But then I realised that when we’d swapped my stuff into Tracy’s car I’d not put my camera in. Arrghh! It’s only 4 minutes away so I shot back home but when I returned the goldies had flown much further out. It took some refinding and the only image I got was this…

I could see that the tide was racing in and sure enough all the waders were pushed off the mud. Goldies were going in all directions and when I left I’d not refound it. Interestingly last week whilst watching the original bird a huge flock of goldies flew over my head and I thought I got on one with a dark underwing, but when I looked back in my scope the AGP was still sat in the field. Will update later… What a 10 days or so, I really don’t want to go back to work next week.

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