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millipede

couple more from 2015

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in NW Arkansas... 
Want to get an opinion on this plover. I put it down as an American golden plover and I'm fairly certain that was correct. But as I was looking at it today I was noticing just how plain this picture shows this bird with very little detail to go on. Looking back and forth at it and Sibley's I am asking you all if thinking the bill looks good for American golden is at all reliable? And also, looks to me like the wings extend far enough to make it not a black-bellied. It's just such a dull bird and comparing a grainy photo to a drawing in a book is just a tad frustrating at times...

4915agpl.JPG.9bd737758af63a34b1d5a59963fc401b.JPG

Then there's this hawk that I put down as a red-tailed back then. It still looks like it overall and if that's what it is... my question is more to how the bird is positioned... VERY often, most birds of prey are posed in such a way that you don't see what looks like fat thighs... you usually just see the skinny featherless part of legs. So any time I see this it throws me. Is this just because the way the bird is positioned on the ground?
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Posted (edited)

Skipping the plover, but the hawk, yes that's a RT. I think sometimes they sit in a way it just makes the feathers. . .poofy.

Thinking some more, I think you're right on the plover, but don't hold me to it. The bill seems on the small side, and the eyebrow is nice and contrasty.

Edited by meghann

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Structurally I think it looks good for American Golden, the bill is hard to judge in this, but the contrasting supercilium is also good for Golden. If it was me, although most features seem good for Golden, I'd be uncomfortable counting it. I don't know how common Golden Plover is in Arkansas, but here it's reasonably uncommon.

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52 minutes ago, egosnell2002 said:

I don't know how common Golden Plover is in Arkansas

During migration, if you're at the right place at the right time, it's fairly common. The black-bellied gets reported FAR less often.

Any thoughts on the length of the wings compared to the tail??? or is that also difficult to judge because of the grass?

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32 minutes ago, millipede said:

During migration, if you're at the right place at the right time, it's fairly common. The black-bellied gets reported FAR less often.

Any thoughts on the length of the wings compared to the tail??? or is that also difficult to judge because of the grass?

All I can say for sure is that it's proportionally pretty stretched, which is a good thing for Golden. I'm pretty sure primary projection isn't really a feature for AGPL vs BBPL, but it is a more reliable way to separate it from the other two Golden Plovers, at least that I know of. If Golden is more common in Arkansas, I'd have no problem counting this. Another thing I find useful (sometimes) for Plover separation is that Black-bellies will often prefer wetter areas then Goldens, which like bone dry fields. Not to say I haven't seen Golden on the coast and Black-bellied inland though...

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