[Tweeters] apparent COMMON RINGED PLOVER @ Stanwood

Jessie Barry jhbirds384 at hotmail.com
Sat Sep 23 22:53:10 PDT 2006

This evening Cameron Cox and I were birding the Stanwood area.  Around 6:20 we heard a unfamiliar shorebird call circling overhead.  We were able to spot the bird, and we were surprised to see that it was a small plover.   We watched it for a couple minutes, as it called continuously (40-50 times), until it landed in a field on Bow Rd.  The call was soft, descending, two-syllable 'pureee.'  Unlike the call of Semipalmated Plover, it was not harsh and did not rise emphatically at the end.  It was strikingly different, unlike a call either of us had heard before.  We have confirmed from two different recordings, that the call matched Common Ringed Plover.  

We were able to locate the bird on the ground, an obtain reasonable views in good light.  The plover was a juvenile.  Important distinguishing field marks we noted, included the brown on the face extending forward, meeting the bill squarely, with no white on the gape (gape was surrounded by dark brown).  This was the same on both sides of the face.  Also, the bird lacked a pale orbital ring, so the entire area surrounding the eye was uniformly dark.  The supercillium was faint, and broken above the eye, appearing more as a white spot behind the eye than a true supercillium.  The breast band was blackish, broad along the sides and narrowing at the center, but did not break.  The legs were pale orange.  We could not see whether or the bird was palmated.

The field where we saw the plover is on the south side of Bow Rd, south of Stanwood.  The bird was in the dirt field near the end of the road, just east of the last small dirt road that goes south.  This location is near the Nature Conservancy's Port Susan Bay Preserve.  Please respect the No Trespassing signs in the area.  We viewed the bird at high tide.  There were several Killdeer and other shorebirds roosting in the field as well.  The bird was still in the field when we left after 7:15 today. It was the only small plover present at the time.  High tide is early tomorrow morning, which is likely the best opportunity for finding the bird again.  

While we are aware that Common Ringed Plover is virtually unheard of in the lower 48, we feel confident in this identification because the call and all visual field marks matched this species.

Good photos would be very helpful, as were only have mediocre digiscoped images.

Jessie Barry
Seattle, WA

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