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Pacific Golden Plover  stop the car!

On a birding trip on Friday 26 July 1996, Jan Mulder, Justin Jansen and I were driving past the exact same location near Camperduin, Noord-Holland, where I had seen my first Pacific Golden Plover two years earlier, when all three of us shouted: “Stop the car!” Next to the road was a golden plover in summer plumage. Jan immediately hit the brakes and seconds later we were checking the bird’s features. It was a Pacific Golden Plover and we were over the moon!

The bird stayed for 10 days and was, at the time, accepted as the 16th Pacific Golden Plover for the Netherlands (Wiegant et al 1998). The 10 on the Dutch list from 1896-1990 had all been collected or trapped. Seven reports from 1902-1966 were no longer considered acceptable after a revision of the Dutch list, which was completed in 1996 (van IJzendoorn et al 1996).  

Coincidentally, at the same location I also observed a Pacific Golden Plover on 19 July 1998 and an American Golden Plover on 4 June 2013. Until 1989 the latter had been recorded just once in the Netherlands. In recent years, the number of sightings of both species has strongly increased. Although neither is a real crowd-puller anymore, I will still pull over instantly when I think I see one. They are still the same amazing long-distance migrants and fabulous vagrants to me as when I started birdwatching. 

Pacific Golden Plover intobirding.com

A page from my notebook.


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Published 19 March 2018