Date: 4/30/19 6:11 am
From: DJ Lauten and KACastelein <deweysage...>
Subject: [obol] Re: Clatsop Beach Piping Plover?
All plovers have completed molts and are in breeding condition by this
time.    HY18 birds look indistinguishable from any other adult.  
However plumage variation is extensive.   We have everything from very
bright and bold males with stunning orange caps and bold facial and
collar markings, to females who barely show a black feather on face and
collar and look almost like a juvenile (but are distinguishable).    We
have females who look like males, and males that look like females.   
Never does a male look pale, but some females look very bold but never
show an orange crown.   You might be surprised how pale some females
are, and in fact, some of the palest, or not bold marked females, are
the oldest females out there.

I suggest that a Piping Plover would jump out at you and would not be
confused with a Snowy.   Pipers have bright legs and a bicolored bill
and are chunkier - and this is because they are more closely related to
Semipalmated Plover than Snowy despite inhabiting the same habitat as
Snowy.   My suggesting is if you are wondering whether it was a Snowy,
it almost certainly was, because if you saw a Piper, you'd be like "HOLY
COW WHAT'S THAT?".    I find that is true for a lot of hard to 
identify, closely related species......if you've never seen, say a Black
Swift, the first time  you see one, you would never confuse it with
anything else.    This is true for a lot of shorebirds....kind of like
Sharp-tailed verse Pectoral.   It is always easy to wonder whether you
are looking at Sharp-tailed when looking at Pecs, but when you finally
see a  Sharp-tailed,  your like "AHA! - BINGO!".

My two cents.....

Dave Lauten
(Snowy Plover expert?????)

On 4/30/2019 3:58 AM, Lars Norgren wrote:
> "When you hear galloping, think 'horses' not 'zebras'." Dr. Moore,
> OHSU School of Dentistry.   I identified 14 species of shorebird on
> Clatsop Beach between 2:30 and 4:30, one more between 4:30 and 6:30.
> What disturbs me about the Snowy Plover l reported in real time was
> its lack of stripes. No black on the forehead, no black on the upper
> chest. It was also extremely pale above, a good match for juvenile
> Piping Plover, a poorer match for immature Snowy Plover. I was busy
> posting the sighting, glancing at multiple birds around me. I never
> noted the leg color. If it had been yellow l would be somewhat
> confident it wasn't a Western Snowy Plover, our "horse" of the moment.
>        I saw it at a distance of under 10m through 8x binocular. It
> was front lit, in stark contrast to so many afternoon Pacific beach
> birds. A foto on my smart phone probably could have zoomed up to
> provide useful details about bill and feet. Several of the world's
> experts on Snowy Plover read this list and should know better than l.
> Where in the molt cycle would last year's hatch of SNPL be now? How
> likely is a Piping Plover to be in juvenile or winter adult plumage on
> April 29?
> Greater Yellowlegs 1
> Marbled Godwit.      20
> Short-billed Dowitcher 35
> Dunlin.                       80
> Western Sandpiper.  100
> Least Sandpiper.        20
> Sanderling.                  30
> Red Knot.                     20
> Whimbrel.                    40
> Long-billed Curlew.     1
> Ruddy Turnstone.        1
> Semi-palmated Plover 10
> Black-bellied Plover.     20
> Pacific Golden Plover.   1
> "snowy" plover.               1

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