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Saturday, 25 July 2009

Lesser Golden Plover On Breydon

I finally saw the fine full summer plumaged adult Lesser Golden Plover, it was seen on the Breydon Water estuary near Great Yarmouth from the North wall and was feeding mainly on a spit of mud. A striking bird with gold/ black/ grey speckled back, cap and wings being much greyer on the mantle than either Golden or Pacific Golden Plovers.  Slightly smaller, but proportionately longer legged than Eurasian Golden Plover, the underparts, face breast extending onto the vent were black save for a very striking clear cut white shawl that bordered where the upperparts met the underparts from its head and snaking round to the upper breast where there was a distinct white bulge the white extended further onto the lower flanks (but this was due to it having started its moult 5 days previously from summer to winter plumage according to one of the finders) But for me this feature together with the long tertial projection strongly indicates that this was a Pacific Golden Plover and not an American Golden Plover as it was being labelled and I had some doubts about the initial ID, now confirmed after checking the features back home in various ID guides. A few white feathers were send on the underparts including one or two on the vent. The bird spent much of the time feeding on the muddy spit where it was harried by a Common Tern when it got to close. It stayed until the tide came in and it started to get wet feet which it evidently didn't like because a few minutes later if flew off high and to the west. A fine Whimbrel was also seen and 2 calling singleton Yellow wagtails flew overhead and away.
Walking back to the Lumps area near the Hide, we assembled to view the assembled throng of waders including 300 Avocets, 150 Dunlin, about 50 Black- tailed Godwits and several Little Gulls sitting on the water including 3 together until finally a wonderful flock of 15 Little Gulls flew right overhead.

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