2nd ABA Record of Collared Plover in Texas

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Saturday afternoon twitchers. A new ABA bird for everyone present!

By Tiffany Kersten

Well, that was quite the surprise to end a week! Just as I finished with my Saturday work duties, I began receiving several calls from birders around the country, asking if I was in hot pursuit. Of what? Of a Collared Plover, I would learn just seconds later.

Collared Plover, a Mexican and Central American bird who’s range extends up both coasts of Mexico for a fair while, surprisingly had previously been seen only once (22 years ago in Uvalde, TX) within the American Birding Association area. Dan Jones had just found the second. A friend and I raced from McAllen toward the bird– about 40 minutes away– and were the first ones onsite to relocate it. Local birders, as well as a younger contingent from Kingsville, trickled in over the next few hours.

Hargill Playa, Hidalgo County, Texas

Collared Plover, Hargill Playa, Hidalgo County, Texas.

This morning, still in the darkness before daybreak, birders from as far as Austin, Dallas and even Lubbock piled out of cars, eagerly awaiting first light. The Collared Plover did not disappoint. A crowd of 30 quickly assembled, but an almost constant flow of coming and going kept the crowd to a reasonable level.

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As the Collared Plover scratches an itch, you can see the rusty coloration on the crown.

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A few smack down sessions with Wilson’s Plovers (and later with Snowy Plovers) provided much entertainment.

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There is a substantial size difference between Wilson’s and Collared Plovers.

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As I said, next it was the Snowys’ turns to get harassed. I’m convinced that Collared Plovers are made of marshmallows and become extra puffy when heated. Check him out!

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Today the Collared Plover wandered between the near and far shore of the playa, but gave better-than-average looks for a fair portion of the morning.

The viewing location is on the corner of Lincoln and 1st in Hargill. Park on the blacktop.and walk in. Anyone looking for the bird tomorrow should beware that the adjacent cotton field is slated to be sprayed before harvesting– possibly as early as tomorrow morning. If so, the only viewing spot will not be accessible. There is no way to gather details on this issue so if you go in the morning, please be aware and be patient if necessary.