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American golden plover        Images © Mark A. Chappell

The three species of golden plovers are all famous as world travelers, migrating between their Arctic breeding grounds and distant wintering sites (some as far away as the southern hemisphere).   This is a lesser, or American golden plover (identifiable from the long primary projection, very visible and contrasty eye line, and a few other factors).   It was photographed in April in coastal Orange County, California, and was mostly in winter plumage but with a few new breeding plumage feathers showing.  This one caused me some initial confusion because it is less 'golden' than many winter-plumage adults and much less brightly colored than juvenile birds.  On another page are photos of breeding birds in Churchill, Manitoba and Barrow, Alaska.
       In winter, golden plovers of both species can be confused with that of the similar but slightly larger black-bellied plover.

  • Canon 1D4; 800 mm IS + 1.4X converter, fill-in flash (2013)