ringed plovers?

Subject: ringed plovers?
Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2007 10:03:15 +1100

They may well remain the Mystery Bay Band of Plovers, however I suspect they most probably are Double-banded Plovers (early return from NZ).
Moulting from breeding plumage to non-breeding plumage may be the reason for them missing their bands and partial retention of one dark band on the "male" bird. In autumn as they arrive from breeding in NZ they are often seen in small groups with individual plumage varying depending on extent of the progression of their moult. Your description of buff around nape is consistent with DB Plover.


William Compston <>

05/03/2007 08:12 PM

[canberrabirds] ringed plovers?

On Monday February 26th, 2007 at 5.15pm, we saw a family of Ringed Plovers.
The locality is Billy's Beach close to Mystery Bay 10 km south of Narooma
on the South coast of NSW,  The beach is small and enclosed by cliffs
either end. A lot of seaweed was on it.

The first bird was seen a few metres ahead of me, feeding in the sand
between the seaweed which was plentiful.  Its species was not immediately
recognized.  Its back was brown from about half way down to the tail with a
pattern reminiscent of the back of a whistler.  Above that, it was buff
coloured up to the head.  Across the breast was a broken brown ring,
3--4mms wide.  The legs and beak were light-coloured.  The bird would
scurry along slightly crouched, then stop and stand like a pipit.

We then saw what was evidently the male, which had a single black band
across his breast 4-5mms wide that narrowed as it went back to encircle the
neck.  The band was a perfect semicircle seen from the front rather than
Y-shaped, so the bird was not a black fronted dotterel.  The presence of
one band only excluded it from being a double-banded dotterel.  It did not
have a black head.  We believe that the birds that we were seeing were
Ringed Plovers

We then saw what we assumed to be a mature female bird.  The band across
its breast was brown and more solid than the first bird seen, which we took
to be a juvenile.  A second juvenile was seen.  We did not see the
juveniles fly but their agility indicated that they probably could.  We saw
the female feed one of them, and other beach goers said that they had also
witnessed feeding.

There is no doubt that we witnessed a family group.  We consider that the
juveniles had fledged fairly recently and that the nest had not been far
away.  We know that. Ringed Plovers are seen  only irregularly on the coast
of SE Australia but no family groups have been reported.  It was not
possible to obtain professional verification of their identity as Ringed
Plovers. They disappeared overnight following heavy rain.


I spoke to a man, walking on the beach, north of Corunna Lake and asked him
whether he had seen a family of small birds.  His reply was, yes, he had,
on Mystery Bay beach.  When? A day or two ago.  This question was asked on
Thursday and we had seen the birds on Monday.  Before or after the rain? I
then asked.  Can't remember.  But he said that he had seen them on the most
easterly point of Mystery Bay; so we went looking there, and walked a
couple of kms south but did not see the birds.   There are lots of hazards
there, people and dogs.

The birds that we saw can't have been either Ringed Plovers or Double
Banded or Double-banded Plovers.  So, what were they?  I would love someone
to see them again


Elizabeth Compston
8 Wells Gardens
Griffith, ACT 2603

02 6295 3028

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