Monday, September 04, 2006

Pacific Golden-Plover

On this day in 2001, Richard Crossley found a Pacific Golden-Plover at Johnson Sod Farm on the border of Salem and Cumberland Counties. The bird stayed through 16 September 2001 and was seen by many. This is the only NJ state record of the species so far, and one of very few East Coast records. The following spring, a Pacific Golden-Plover was found at Plum Island in Massachusetts on 21 April 2002; that bird remained until 5 May 2002. There's also an old Maine specimen record from 11 September 1911.

Finding a Pacific Golden-Plover in a flock of American Golden-Plovers will always be a difficult task, but it's possible that other Pacifics have been overlooked because of the identification issues. Also, the two species were considered to be one (Lesser Golden-Plover) until relatively recently, so this doubtless helped it fly under many birders' radar. Interestingly, a bird that may be Utah's first record of the species is currently being discussed on the ID-Frontiers listserv, so now is clearly the time to be alert for this species.

The first state record article, "New Jersey's First Pacific-Golden Plover" by Richard Crossley, was published in the Fall 2002 issue of Records of New Jersey Birds, pages 57-60. Other references include Angus Wilson's discussion on the bird, which he posted on his Ocean Wanderers website.


Patrick Belardo said...


I really enjoy your blog. Keep up the excellent work. I wish I had been more into hardcore birding back then to have seen that bird.

Jennifer Hanson said...

Hi Patrick,

Thanks for stopping by. It'll probably take a little time to really hit a stride with the blog, but I think it's headed in the right direction.

I missed this golden-plover too. Some of my friends went for it but I didn't get around to it, and then the world went crazy and bird-chasing got pushed onto the back burner. Hopefully another one will visit the state soon!