martes, 8 de octubre de 2013

Semipalmated Plover II

 The "airport pools" looking north, with the airport access road visible on the left, and  Santa Cruz de La Palma in the distance.

 The "pools", locally known as Las Maretas, are actually disused gravel pits which provided materials for the construction of the airport. 

Despite the unpicturesque surroundings, the location is very popular with all kinds of people, especially at weekends and on sunny afternoons: dog-walkers, joggers, bait-gatherers and anglers, families with young children, and cars and even caravans can all be found here. How the Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus) will cope with all this potential disturbance remains to be seen, but the bird was still foraging at the site this morning (Oct 8), together with two or three Ringed Plover (C. hiaticula).

Note the difference in size between Semipalmated (foreground) and Common Ringed in the above image. The obvious webbing between the two inner toes, a diagnostic identification feature of semipalmatus, can also be appreciated.

The bird was in a less-favourable spot for photography this morning, so I have been unable to improve on the first photos taken on Oct 5. The verdict of several experienced observers coincide in that this specimen is not a juvenile, as previously assumed,  but an adult.

This record of Charadrius semipalmatus, if accepted by the Spanish Rarities Committee, will be the fifth for Spain, and the first for the Canary Islands. It seems likely that such low numbers of sightings do not reflect the real numbers of semipalmatus arriving in the country, but can be attributed to the fact that this species is very easily overlooked.

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