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Subject: St. Marks Lapwing
From: tom curtis <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:tom curtis <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 22 May 2006 09:16:04 -0400
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Sorry for the delay in getting out further info on the St. Marks Lapwing, 
but my access from home is spotty.  I did the best I could yesterday.  The 
bird is a Southern Lapwing.  Below is a transcript of my notes and a few 
other observations.

Seen:  ~8:00 AM, Sunday May 21,2006 in Mounds Pool 3 at St Marks NWR.  Bird 
was in the portion of the pool nearest to Tower Pond.  Watched the bird 
traverse about 80 feet of shoreline from about 40 yds using binoculars, 
spotting scope.  Clear and sunny, light breeze.  Got about 20 minutes of 
observations, then I went back for camera, and to see if I could notify 
others.  Could not relocate between 9:00 - 11:30 AM.

GISS:  Large shorebird, upright posture.  Size and color first attracted 
attention.

Size:  Nearly as tall as Black-necked Stilt, but had bulk more like to 
female teal. (both were nearby)

Plumage:  Back, wings, nape, neck all basically the same color.  No 
significant contrast among any of these areas.  Slightly darker brown that 
Willet.  Face black and white; black in front of eye with white above and 
below.  Lot of white near gape.  Black and white pattern was restricted to 
face and did not extend very far down onto neck, or back beyond 
eye.  Looked like a single black feather extending from the top of the head 
back well beyond the head.  Belly white.  White extended all the way to the 
undertail coverts.  From underneath, initially the end of the tail looked 
black-white-black.  This later was seen to be some black on the underside 
of the tail with a narrow white terminal band.  The other black was from 
the wings that extended slightly beyond the tail.  Wide black breast band, 
concave at top, convex at bottom.  Goldish sheen at shoulders.   Bird was 
not seen in flight, so no details on wing or uppertail patterns.

Other parts: Eye red.  Beak looked sort of yellowish with a sharply defined 
black tip.  Legs reddish, but not as bright as those on stilts, slightly 
more grayish at joint.

Behavior:  Tended to walk with a very upright posture.  Bird was actively 
foraging, thus was walking along slowly along the shoreline, occasionally 
stopping to pick at ground.  Feeding pattern was rather deliberate; walk, 
stop, bend over, pause briefly, peck quickly at the ground, repeat.  Run 
and pause pattern showed by plovers not seen, nor was active 
walking/running alternating with pecking seen from peeps.  Not seen to 
enter water, rather, the bird tended to stay on open ground between water 
and vegetation.

Other information:  No leg bands, but both feet seemed to intact.  Don't 
know if it was just coincidence but there were a lot of Wilson's Phalaropes 
around.

Identification:  Initial inclination was Southern Lapwing.  Post hoc, 
references confirmed Southern Lapwing ID.  Bird in question was essentially 
identical to that shown in Paulson's "Shorebirds of North America".  Based 
on the descriptions in Hayman et al., "Shorebirds: an identification guide" 
the extensive white on the face suggests that this bird is probably of the 
cayennensis subspecies from Northern South America.  Unfortunately this 
sub-species is the most sedentary form.

Stevenson & Anderson list several previous sightings of this species 
although state that most are unlikely to be true vagrants.  It might be 
noted, however, that most of those sightings occurred during late spring 
early summer (25 June, 23 July, 28 April, 1 June, 2 June, 17 March).  At 
least one more recent record from spring (banded).  Only one fall 
record.  If these were all truly escapes, I would expect either more even 
distribution throughout the year or a concentration during hurricane season 
when birds might get accidentally released.

Have fun,

Tom Curtis
[log in to unmask] 

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