‘Tundra’ Ringed Plovers

Late spring sees small flocks of Ringed Plovers inland, moving north. Most, if not all will be ‘Tundra’ types, probably of the Scandinavian/Russian/Siberian race tundrae, but possibly also psammodroma, which breeds no further away than Iceland, with its range extending to Greenland and north-east Canada. Both races are very similar, being slightly smaller, darker and marginally smaller-billed than our ‘own’ nominate race hiaticula (more here).

There have been a handful of reports this week, including 5 at Earls Barton Gravel Pits on 6th and one there on 7th, plus 6 at Stanwick Gravel Pits and 7 at Pitsford Reservoir yesterday.

Presumed ‘Tundra’ Ringed Plover, Earls Barton GP, 7th May 2017 (Douglas McFarlane)
Presumed ‘Tundra’ Ringed Plover (right) alongside summering (presumed) nominate Ringed Plover, Earls Barton GP, 7th May 2017 (Douglas McFarlane)

This one at Earls Barton GP appears to be a female as the ear coverts are not solidly black and the band around the neck is thin and brownish at the rear but it was noticeably smaller and darker than the accompanying bird, which is presumed to be a breeding hiaticula.

Comments welcome.

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