Monday, 7 September 2015

Nobirds American Golden Plover

O Dear!! Where do we start. It was good to see that the Nobirds Hierachy left their sitting rooms and headed to Myroe yesterday, a round of applause at least for that. It was the "crack team" including numero uno but it was bound to be fraught with difficulties and so it seems!
They played a blinder and found an American Golden Plover at Myroe, much Kudos and more applause, they can feel ever so happy with themselves! They posted a photo of the offending Plover on their ever so secure Twitter Feed, Nobirds Twits for short. You can only join their Twitter feed if they like you, typical members must own a Tennis Club Membership Card, own a pair of Brown Nature Treks, have ALL their trousers dry cleaned and more importantly the creases must be perfect and only go out birding in NI once a year, anymore than that you get black balled. Having a few ten pound notes handy in your well creased trousers is an absolute must also as you will have to produce during roll call!
But i digress and i have posted the photo of the Nobirds AGP, im not sure if i am infringing copyright but the photo is labbelled as Garry Armstrong so apologies Garry if you dont want me posting photo but its all over the Web now anyway! I will remove it if i get a Solicitors letter but i am not saying anything bad about the photo, its a good photo, very nice photo in fact and shows a European Golden Plover standing in the Turf Lawn Fields at Myroe.
Wait back up a minute did i say European? Yes i did, not very Nobirds Spoting of me. As this bird was identified as an American i will have to do a more in depth analysis, maybe i am wrong and those good sports the Nobirds Crack Team have got it right so.....

Points in Favour of identification of Ameriaan Golden Plover
1 / Its a Plover/ Yes i give Nobirds that one, you just cant pull the wool over their eyes
2 / Its small. Hold on lets investigate. There is nothing to compare it to in the photo, Father Ted. It is crouching down looking small but when something large crouches down it doesent make it small it makes it something large crouching down, difficult stuff i know.
And that is it, ive attached a photo of the same bird two weeks ago beside the Pacific Golden Plover, not looking so small now!

Points in favour of Identification as European Golden Plover.
1 / I will go easy, it has white underwing / axhillaries, Nobirds did check for this important feature i am sure?
2/ Large size, silimar in size to other Europeans present yesterday, AGPs normally 3/4 the size of European
3 / Large thick legs, bill typical size and shape etc etc i could go on and on
However the bird is sick, it is in arrested moult and is missing lower body feathers giving it a slightly slimmer sappearance than normal but only slightly. It is darker than most adult Europeans at this time of year and is not as golden as some Europeans but we see one or two birds like this every year at Myroe and we identify them as European, maybe we are the ones making the mistake?
Perhaps this a new sub - species of American, lets call it Nobirds American Golden Plover, they have white axhillaries, the same as Eurropean and normal birders cant identify them only if your a Nobirder, it is a possibilty that we have to keep very much in mind.

Just in case your thinking i am being too hard on those loveable rogues i contacted them when i heard of their great find and made them aware of the possibility but they have decided that they know best as usual and to plough ahead making themselves look foolish. People will of course go and look for it and those affiliated to Nobirds will see an American others with a field guide and a bit of nous will see a European. Lets hope Nobirds post more photos of the cruoching Plover and also of the Pacific Golden Plover which spent all day yesterday in the field, Nobirds did see it i am sure, didnt they!

It has been quite an educaation i have to say!