Friday, January 8, 2010

Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) - new species for Costa Rica

1. Photo by José David Vargas Fernández

2. Photo by José David Vargas Fernández

On Nov 1, 2009, at 7:30 am, José David Vargas Fernández, who is a guide for Jacamar Tours S.A., found and photographed this juvenile Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) on the rocky coast between Playa Mansita, in Hacienda Pinilla, and the estuary at Playa Avellanas, Guanacaste. The lone Piping Plover was on the fringe of a large group of Semipalmated Plovers (C. semipalmatus). JD noted that the Piping Plover seemed to keep apart from the Semipalmateds and that it made high, whistled "peep" vocalizations that were different from the more nasal calls of the Semipalmateds.

On Nov 7, at 12:50 pm, JD went back with Edgar Brenes and Gustavo Mora, who are also both Costa Rican naturalist guides, to look for the bird. They were able to find it , and photograph it, again at the same spot. There have been no subsequent reports of this bird to date.

Piping Plover is ranked as a "Near Threatened" species by the IUCN. It breeds in the US and Canada in the great plains and along the northern Atlantic coast, and winters on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the southern US and Mexico, and in the Bahamas and Greater Antilles. Its occurrence south of the Yucatan Peninsula in winter is considered as accidental.

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