02-16-01

A small group of us went up to see if we could find the famed Greater Sand Plover at the Seadrift Community near Stinson Beach. This bird, which has now been present almost two weeks, has sparked much debate and, if confirmed, will represent the first EVER record of this bird in the Americas! Hardcore birders have flown in from all over North and South America in hopes of seeing this exceedingly rare bird. The uncertainty about this bird stems from the Greater Sand Plover's similarity to the Lesser (Mongolian) Sand Plover (which is also fantastically rare!). I can say, with my limited experience with these two Asian species, that the length of bill and overall size supports the evidence for Greater, but by no means am I an expert... Prevailing opinion also seems to be that the bird is indeed the Greater Sand Plover. [Other rarities that insist on appearing in exclusive gated communities include the Thick-billed Kingbird from Mexico. This bird has now wintered for three years in the Oceanview golf community just south of Half Moon Bay.]

Elsewhere in Bolinas, several Eurasian Wigeon, and a single Tufted Duck remain in their usual wintering spot, on the south east side of the Lagoon between the town of Stinson Beach and the school.

At Chimney Rock in Point Reyes, a Long-tailed Duck remains, but the King Eider, Harlequin Duck and Black Scoter failed to show. Despite these disappointments, a day with two vagrants and an accidental species can hardly be called a loss!

The Rough-legged Hawk continues its stay at Coyote Hills Regional Park in the East Bay. With luck, this bird will remain long enough for us to see it on our trip to the area on Saturday. Wintering Glaucous Gulls continue to be seen throughout the Bay Area, but distinguising this bird from the more common Glaucous-winged Gulls can be difficult.