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Blagdon Lake Birds

American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica (Statius Müller, 1776)

(Extremely rare Nearctic vagrant)


American Golden Plover, Kougarok Road, Nome, Alaska, 17th June 2012.American Golden Plover, Kougarok Road, Nome, Alaska, 17th June 2012.


  1. One, a juvenile, 1st-2nd Nov. 2003 (N.R. Milbourne, R. Mielcarek et al.).
  2. One, presumed juvenile, 23rd Oct. 2013 (N.R. Milbourne).

American and Pacific Golden Plovers were considered to be races of 'Lesser' Golden Plover and weren't split by the BOU until 1986 because it was thought that the two races inter-bred. The first accepted British record of American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica was on Fair Isle, Shetland in 1956.

The author found the first bird known to have visited Blagdon Lake early in the morning on the 1st November 2003. After about an hour of careful observation I had noted the grey under wing on four occasions and I put out the word of a Lesser (probable American) Golden Plover present off Bell's Bush with European Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria. Richard Mielcarek arrived and he and I were able to clinch the identification and age the bird as a juvenile. Although appearing to have flown off at 1215 hrs the bird returned later and was seen by many observers before flying off again at 1455 hrs. It was present again the following morning 2nd November and relocated for the last time at Yoxter on the Mendip plateau by Simon Isgar on 5th November.

The second record was of a bird that apparently flew up from Bell's Bush, over the meadow close to the author allowing a clear view as it rose in the air calling. It flew towards Blagdon Village before veering south and rising over the Mendip ridge. The grey underwing and repeated call were both noted at the time, so I immediately drove home to listen to recordings of the call, before driving on to Cheddar Reservoir in the hope that it might have landed there. It hadn't.

Bibliography (sources of information):

  1. Rose, Dr H.E. (ed.). Avon Bird Report, 2003. Avon Ornithological Group.
  2. Rose, Dr H.E. (ed.). Avon Bird Report, 2013. Avon Ornithological Group.
  3. British Ornithologists' Union (BOU) website
  4. British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) website
Nigel Milbourne © 2009-24. All Rights Reserved.