Reluctantly I canceled out of the trip, because 2 of the 3 voyages was canceled and the remaining trip now seems unlikely. Sad, but what's a birder to do? Well, head out to the Davis Water Treatment Plant to see the 3 Ring Circus... I mean, to see the Common Ringed Plover.
I drove out this morning and to my total joy, the bird was not only there, but it was being adorably cooperative. There were loads of birders, many who flew in from other states just to see this bird. Of course the bird, is supposed to be over wintering in Africa, so it flew a long way to be here too.
This amazing birdie was discovered last Friday by Todd Easteria, who has found many wonderous vagrant birds in his day, but this one is his best. This is only the 4th record of a Common Ringed Plover in the lower 48 states, and the 1st ever found in California.
as on the similar looking Semipalmated Plover
Below you can compare the Semipalmated Plover with the Common Ringed Plover. What you can't see is the Semipalmateds have dark legs with semi-webbed toes, while the Common Ringed has no toe webbing at all on its crayola bright legs - orange or flesh colored (when not covered in mud). The Common Ringed is also a little larger than Semipalmateds, and at least in this plumage, more rufous in coloration.
Common Ringed Plover; photo by Todd 'The MAN' Easteria
Friends often try to preen my ego by telling my shots are great. No. Sorry, they aren't. I haven't been able to get my newish digital camera and spotting scope to work in unison yet. Here is what all of my shots look like before I trim them down. They are 'vignetted' which is too say they resemble a bullet hole in a black wall.
I took this last photo to give an idea of how far we were from the Plover. It's nice that no matter how many showed up for gawking, we were too far away for the birds to be bothered by happy birders. The Plover is in the photo below, the lone speck, near center on the mud flat. The speck on the far right is a lump of mud and did not fly all the way over from Eurasia to be here.
[Management is happy to say Ms. Miller will receive a full refund for her 3 pelagic trips, canceled due to Hurricane Irene. Of course Ms. Miller had nothing to do with Irene blowing in, or at least we think she had nothing to do with it. If you think otherwise, please contact the Coast Guard, but you may wish to have a chat with a good shrink first.]