Semipalmated Plover

semipal

Semipalmated Plover – photo taken by the finder Rodmund á Kelduni

Yesterday Rodmund called me about a possible Semipalmated Plover, that he had found on Sandoy. As I was on Nólsoy to see the Paddyfield Warbler I wasn’t able to go and look for it.

The bird caught Rodmunds attention among 15-20 Common Ringed Plovers as it had a very weak supercilium. He managed to get four pictures of the bird before it flew off. It was only seen for a total of 2 minutes.

Yesterday I posted the picture on facebook and several people argued that it was in deed a Semipalmated Plover – a first for the Faroes if accepted.

Some of the features mentioned to support the identification are white above the gabe, jizz, pale fringed covers, rounded head, weak breast markings, stout bill etc.

But it is a very hard bird to identify on plumage alone, so we decided to look for the bird today in order to make sound recordings and hopefully see the feet.

As we arrived at Gróthúsvatn the same number of Common Ringed Plovers as yesterday were around and we started looking for the bird. But it turned out to be hard to get good views of all the birds as they kept flying around. A juvenile Merlin had decided to try to catch then. Below some of todays pictures can be seen.

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On three occasions a call similar to Semiplamated Plover was heard as a flock of Common Ringed Plovers flew across the lake.

But the birds that we did get good views of did not look like yesterdays bird. We weren’t sure if the bird would appear different from yesterday as in was sunny today but clouded yesterday. So we decided to get pictures of as many birds as possible – but as far as we can see they were all Common Ringed Plovers.

We then checked a nearby beach at Søltuvík, where we found another 20 Common Ringed Plovers, but they took off before we could get proper views.

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This event as turned out to be very useful for us, so hopefully we will be better prepared when the next Semipalmated Plover comes around.

Silas Olofson

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