possible AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER at Shoalhaven Heads NSW

Subject: possible AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER at Shoalhaven Heads NSW
Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2006 17:05:58 +1000
Dear all, this is to let nearby birders aware of the possibity of an American 
Golden Plover at Shoalhaven Heads nr Nowra NSW.

This bird was seen late Saturday afternoon by myself, on the saltmarsh at the 
southern edge of the main estruary at Shoalhaven Heads. Please accept apologies 
for not reporting this earlier as I have been flat out with work commitments + 
I was more unsure of the identification due to the plumage stage of the bird in 
question until I had correstpondance with both Phil Straw and Mike Carter (who 
is on his way there now) today, who consider this to be a good candidate for 
AGP (I managed to get a couple of photos, which whilst poor, do highlight a key 
diagnostic feature).

The key features identified were:

1) The white patches on the sides of the breast appeared much fuller than 
comparable birds in similar stage of plumage. Flank line appeared much less 
apparent and perhaps non-existant.

2) Leg length appeared similar to other GP's except that jizz perhaps was a 
touch "bulkier"

3) Wing length, not exactly clear in the pictures, but extended beyond tail in 
scope view

4) Bill perhaps seemed "heavier" but I think this was perhaps marginal

5) Underparts were not completely black towards the under-tail, although I 
think this and other unclear features could be explained by plumage stage.

There is a good number of GP's at Shoalhaven Heads at the moment so hopefully 
this bird is still around. I estimate that there are about 200 odd GP's there, 
and the group I was looking at had a number of birds in various stages of 
breeding plumage which made identification more challenging. However the extent 
of white on the sides of the breast as well as the lack of flank line make this 
bird interesting.

It might be worth taking a look if you are in the area. I do hope that Mike 
and/or others can help confirm this possible sighting, it's about time we in 
NSW turned something up - Victoria has had more than its fair share of good 
waders this summer!


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