Ian’s Bird of the Week – Oriental Plover by Ian Montgomery
Newsletter – 12/10/14
You may remember that we had Oriental Pratincole as bird of the week early last month as I couldn’t fulfil a request from a local birder for Oriental Plover. Since then, Rex Whitehead, a bird photographer in Mt Isa, 900km west of Townsville as sent me some lovely Oriental Plover photos that he took very recently on Lake Moondarra, a reservoir just outside Mt Isa.
The first two photos are of adult birds in non-breeding plumage. These are elegant mid-sized plovers slightly smaller than Golden Plovers with a length 22-25cm/8.5-10in. The second photo shows the slim profile well. The third photo is of a juvenile bird, and like many plover species it has buff fringes to the dorsal feathers.
The entire population of about 70,000 birds breeds in Mongolia and adjacent areas of southern Siberia and northwestern China and migrates to northern Australia for the northern winter. In both regions it is a bird of dry arid areas and in Australia it visits the coast less frequently and in response to severe drought inland. Some birds reach the southern states, but it’s main range is north of the Tropic of Capricorn. On migration in both directions it appears in large numbers in the Yangtze Valley but records are rare both in more northerly parts of China and in Indonesia. So it is assumed that it is a long distant migrant and does the entire journey in two hops.
In breeding plumage it has a chestnut breast-band with a dark lower edge which forms a sharp border to the white breast. With some reluctance I’ve included a poor distant shot of mine taken at Norfolk Island airport in March 2012 to illustrate the breeding plumage and do a size comparison with the Pacific Golden Plover. if you look carefully you can see the chestnut breast-band on the Oriental Plover and the Pacific Golden Plover is also coming into breeding plumage. Oriental Plovers can run swiftly and the specific name veredus is the Latin for a swift horse.
I’ve been busy working on the website to make it ‘mobile friendly’ so Christmas has approached stealthily and more-or-less unnoticed. I did see in my calendar program yesterday that there is a full moon on Christmas Day and the same program reminded me today that there is a New Moon tomorrow. That gave me a shock as it means Christmas only a couple of weeks away. So, don’t forget the gift giving facilities on the Apple Store and Kobo Books and the ebooks Where to Find Birds in Northern Queensland and Diary of a Bird Photographer! Use the Gifting Gifts section in the Publications Page for links and instructions. Both the thumbnails below are linked to their newly mobile friendly pages on the website.
I released the new mobile friendly home page a few days ago. This involved breaking it up into smaller parts to make it more manageable – it had grown to become a monster over the years. The home page now has links to all its erstwhile components like thumbnails to bird families (‘Visual Links’ in the menus), the bird of the week index page, and recent additions. The alphabetic and taxonomic indices are collectively called Text Links, and like the Visual Links are all inter-connected. The move to a mobile world has provided an opportunity for a complete redesign to make the website more consistent and easier to use but, given its size, it will be many months before all the family and species pages get updated but I’ll keep you posted.
[Even the migratory birds are punctual to their seasons.] Yes, the stork [excelling in the great height of her flight] in the heavens knows her appointed times [of migration], and the turtledove, the swallow, and the crane observe the time of their return. But My people do not know the law of the Lord [which the lower animals instinctively recognize in so far as it applies to them]. (Jeremiah 8:7 AMP)
Wow! If you looked at all the links Ian shared, he has really been busy updating his Birdway website. I’m impressed! The Oriental Plover is also very interesting.
Charadriidae – Plovers Family