Common Ringed Plover adventure

Thomas Slater

First, thanks Kevin Zimmer for finding this terrific bird. Last time I saw one I was in Ireland.

Second, thank you locals for pointing me to the correct dock to successfully launch across the bay.
We departed from Tidelands Park/parking/dock. Probably the shortest route across.

Mike Schaefer and I took my canoe across the bay to the spit this morning just after 8 AM and walked south on the spit. We ran into Bradley Hacker and another birder who were walking north along the spit who had not seen the bird yet. Brad had been there early in the morning and had already walked to the jetty and back. Reasoning that the best place for success was back near post 6 where Mike and I saw the most semipalmated plovers (they were congregating in that one area for some reason) we doubled back. 

We had seen flocks flying over the sandspit dunes (east to west) to the ocean side and the bird numbers were increasing by the minute. We started picking our way through the flock for a second time. That proved to be the ticket. It's black head and breast stripes were the most distinguishing feature when trying to separate it from the 100+ semipalmated plovers that we were seeing everywhere around it. Nice going Mike!

Mike Stiles waltzed right up after kayaking across and picked up the bird just as we found it. Talk about perfect timing.

A very fun and unique adventure. I've used boats to find good surf but this was a first using a boat (besides a pelagic trip) to go find a good bird. 

photos here

Bird on

Tom Slater
Smokey Nipomo

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