Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Semipalmated Plover

My first plover in Chicago! This little fellow was feeding along the shore of the small island in the middle of South Pond.  A plover is a tiny shorebird, this particular type has yellow legs and white underbelly. In my identification attempt, of course I jumped to the conclusion that I saw a piping plover, but given its endangered and rare bird status in Chicago I continued to search and was able to correctly ID it as a juvenile Semipalmated Plover. Common things are common...

Identifying specific bird species is tricky. For the most part, knowing heron vs. duck vs. goose vs. swallow vs. plover vs. wren isn't very difficult. I imagine it's like a regular person knowing colors compared to an artist knowing colors. Different shades, tints and hues. Sure we know blue, but do we know azure, periwinkle, indigo, cobalt, cyan?

For this particular bird I was happy that I could immediately identify it as a plover, but then when you have to identify what type of plover it is, the specific markings, colors, and habitats become very important. Without binoculars it's almost impossible. I saw another new species today but it was too high up in the trees with the sun behind it and it was very difficult for me to clearly distinguish it's markings so I couldn't properly identify it once I got back home.

I was too far away to get a photo. Up close courtesy of AllAboutBirds.org

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