There are a number of reasons why I decided to take on this project. My first reason has to do with my interest in birds. This began shortly after moving to Victoria ten and a half years ago. With our house backing onto a wooded area, the chirping of birds is a familiar sound all year long. I often glance out the window to see birds of all forms in the yard throughout the day. Frequently I will pull out the Birds of Victoria or Birds of North America reference guides we have on hand. Unfortunately, the drawings in the first aren’t overly helpful for identification and the number of entries in the second is overwhelming. My second reason has to do with a photography course I took a number of years ago. Since that time I have been trying to think of a practical reason to buy a new camera. Taking pictures of birds requires a powerful zoom lens which my previous point-and-shoot camera could not accommodate. Perfect! My final reason was my desire to take on a new project to welcome in 2011. Hence, bird of the day was born.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Semipalmated Plover

Charadrius semipalmatus

  • Small plover
  • Grey-brown above
  • White below
  • Single, dark chest band
  • Black breast band, sides of head, and forecrown in breeding adults; brown in non-breeding adults and juveniles.
  • Yellowish-orange legs
  • Short, dark bill with orange base  (all black on juvenile)
Listen to its call.

Having no obligations for the day, I suggested to my husband that we take the ferry to Sidney Spit for a picnic. It was a lovely day for it; sunny, but not too hot, and lots of shorebirds to photograph.  Perfect! 

A number of flocks of these birds were around the beach, foraging for food on the tidal flats. All of the ones I saw had black bills, making me wonder if perhaps I'd made a mistake with their identity. Then I caught sight of their feet, which reassured me. Semipalmated is an adjective used to describe wading birds that have toes webbed for part of their length. Oddly enough, I only discovered this when I looked up the word in the dictionary. Why don't the bird books tell you these things? 

 Learn more about the Semipalmated Plover.

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