Possible AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER at Shoalhaven Heads

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Subject: Possible AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER at Shoalhaven Heads
From: "Simon Blanchflower" <>
Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2006 19:04:23 +1000
Hello all, I made a posting about this earlier today, but I don't think it got 
through for some reason so sorry if you get this twice.

Late Saturday afternoon after 17:00 (1st April) I spotted a Golden Plover sp. 
at Shoalhaven Heads which deserved further investigation. Please accept my 
apologies for not posting this earlier, but I've been flat out with work and 
was more unsure about the identification until today. Luckily I got a couple of 
photos of the bird which does show a key diagnostic feature for American Golden 
Plover -  that being large white "shoulder patches" and no (or very limited at 
best) flank line. The main issue for identification for this bird however is 
that it is not in full breeding plumage and there is a fair amount of variation 
between the GP species.

The following outlines some points on the bird:

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-existent
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.

Anyway I sent the photos to Phil Straw and he kindly forwarded them to a couple 
of members of BARC and others and feedback so far seems to confirm that this 
bird is a good candidate for an American Golden Plover. Spoke to Mike Carter 
earlier today and he's on his way there now. Hopefully Mike or others will also 
see this bird and corroborate my sighting - its about time we picked up 
something good in NSW this season, as Victoria has been "hogging" all the good 

There are about 200 or so GP's at Shoalhaven Hds right now and some are close 
to breeding plumage (probably about 10% are very close). This particular bird 
has the largest shoulder patches and lacked the flank line visible in others.

The bird was seen in the usual spot for GP's on the Salt Marsh at the southern 
end of the main estuary at Shoalhaven (estuary access is adjacent to the 
caravan park at the end of the road bordering the estuary). Shoalhaven Heads is 
about 12kms east of Nowra in NSW.

Hopefully the bird is still around, so if you are in the area it may be worth a 


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