Possible American Golden Plover at Boat Harbour, Sydney

Subject: Possible American Golden Plover at Boat Harbour, Sydney
From: Nikolas Haass <>
Date: Sun, 18 Jan 2009 02:42:42 -0800 (PST)
Hi Tun-Pin and Birding-Aus,

I spent a couple of hours in the Boat Harbour area today to look for Tun-Pin's 
interesting Golden Plover.

At the first rock platform close to the cul-de-sac parking lot I saw the 
6 Sooty Oystercatchers
12 Pacific Golden Plovers (one of them drabber than the others)***
6 Ruddy Turnstones
1 Red Knot

At Boat Harbour proper:
2 very distant Wedge-tailed Shearwaters
1 dark morph Eastern Reef Egret
many adult and young Little Terns
12 Common Terns
plenty of Crested Terns

At Shell Point
5 Pied Oystercatchers

In addition:
10 Aus Pelicans, 1 Little Pied Cormorant, Great Cormorants, Little Black 
Cormorants, Silver Gulls, 2 Golden-headed Cisticolas, and 1 Aus Pipit

*** I am not sure if "my drab bird" was "Tun-Pin's interesting bird". If so, I 
wasn't able to gather any further information about plumage and structural 
details. However, in general "my bird" did not appear like an AGP. 
There were quite a lot of comments on Tun-Pin's excellent pictures of "his 
bird", so I don't want to be redundant. I only want to add that also "Tun-Pin's 
bird" did not immediately ring my personal "AGP alarm bells". Mostly when I 
have seen young and non-breeding AGPs (in the US) they reminded me of Eurasian 
Dotterels (rather than of Grey Plovers or European Golden Plovers): stubby 
bills, large eyes, sharply demarcated supercilium (but possibly also their 
preference to run around on short grass). PGPs, in contrast, are - to me - much 
more similar to Grey Plovers in jizz.
To confuse everything even more: In the last year before I left the US, we had 
a bird at Cape May that showed field marks for both AGP and PGP and - even more 
interesting - it gave the calls of both species as well! - Images are published 
in Michael O'Brien's, Richard Crossley's and Kevin Karlson's Shorebird Guide.



Nikolas Haass

Sydney, NSW

----- Original Message ----
From: Tun Pin Ong <>
To: ; kbrandwood <>
Sent: Tuesday, January 13, 2009 5:32:00 PM
Subject: Possible American Golden Plover at Boat Harbour,Sydney

Hi Keith,

I was able to view its left side only where even the 2 outestmost primaries are 
gone. Hopefully someone could look at its right side.

My main target was Wandering Tattler but I was not able to locate it which was 
reported 2 days earlier. Perhaps looking for Wandering Tattler plus checking 
out with this strange Golden Plover would make your trip worthwhile.

In fact I do not encourage going to Boat Harbour as I resent paying $19 to 
drive along the most substandard road I have ever encountered in Sydney. And 
the other national park coastal walk was too hard for me to carry my loads of 

Other birds I saw are:-
One 1st winter Red Knot
2 Bar-tailed Godwit
2 Curlew Sandpiper
~15 Pacific Golden Plovers in non-breeding plumage including the least 
attractive non-golden Plover.
~100 Red-necked Stints
plus other Sooty Oystercatchers, Crested Terns, etc.

I hope all the target birds will hang around long enough for many to see.

Tun-Pin Ong
St Leonards

--- On Tue, 1/13/09, kbrandwood <> wrote:

> From: kbrandwood <>
> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Possible American Golden Plover at Boat 
> Harbour,Sydney
> To:  
> Date: Tuesday, January 13, 2009, 4:49 PM
> Hi Tun, if some primaries and tertials are missing there is
> no chance of identifying this species as a AGP.
> keith b the beautiful Hawkesbury 60km N/W of Sydney

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