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Sunday, October 23, 2016

A visitor from East Asia

On 18 October 2016, a Lesser Sand-Plover (Charadrius mongolus) was discovered at Point Reyes.  I couldn't help it — I went to see it today.  I hadn't seen this species before and Point Reyes is so close!  There are only about 12 records for Lesser Sand-Plover in California, making it a very rare vagrant to this area.

Their former name Mongolian Plover hints at where they're usually found.  They breed in northeast Asia (e.g., examples of breeding sites include eastern Siberia, southern Mongolia, western China, the Himalayas) and winter from the Philippines to Australia.  Needless to say, this bird has strayed quite far from its normal range.

In the pictures below, look for the overall brownish coloration above, the dark markings around the eye, and the pale buffy coloration on the forehead and face (and faintly on the breast).

These photos were taken this afternoon, 23 October 2016 (about 1-hour walk north of the North Beach parking lot on the outer beach of Point Reyes):

In the image below, look for both the Lesser Sand-Plover and the Snowy Plover.  Note the Snowy Plover is smaller and paler gray:

(The Lesser Sand-Plover is on the far right; the Snowy Plover is on the far left.) 

And one more:

Good night!

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