Saturday, May 14, 2011

Half Time Break

As you can see that I still haven't finished posting my Malaysia trip report, there's something interesting I want to share as the half time break. Recently I've been out birding again(finally), and luckily I met Furuso-san at Sekinoe the other day and she told me about a Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) family at Mochigahama (餅ヶ浜). Yesterday, I was not so busy so I took a walk to the Mochigahama beach to look for the plovers. It was about 11am and it was pretty hot although a bit overcast. I finally spotted the adult male in worn breeding plumage calling loudly for its chick which was running for a place to hide. The chick was extremely cute! Even though I've seen so many photos of plover's chicks before, it looks even cuter in real life.
Kentish Plover's chick playing dead

Breeding male Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus nihonensis)

It was quite interesting to see that the male bird was the only one that took care of the chick. I briefly spotted the female bird perching in a distance before disappearing and never to be found again. Kentish Plovers in East Asia have noticeably paler legs than the ones normally found in Thailand. Male birds also have duller rufous cap in breeding plumage. According to Diegnan, the paler-legged population in East Asia is regarded as the subspecies 'nihonensis', while the one in Thailand is the nominate 'alexandrinus'. I'll sure be posting more about this family once I finished my trip report.
Male assuming breeding plumage Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii)
Not only the Kentish Plover family that I needed to talk about, I also found this nice Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii) feeding around the same spot as well. The bird seems to favour the northernmost area of the beach, close to Beppu Kotsu Center. I first found it on yesterday evening, and it was still presenting throughout the whole day today. The bird is a male and still on its way moulting into a breeding plumage. Two weeks ago, there was a report of 2 Lesser Sand Plovers, one in full breeding plumage and one in non-breeding plumage, at Shoningahama, and I felt sad that I missed them two. Right now I feel much better to have found this Greater Sand Plover, and I'm also happy to know that it's a scarce migrant in Japan (though we always get both Lesser and Greater in large numbers every winter in Thailand). It adds up to No.146 in my Beppu List.

7 comments:

Kah-Wai Lin said...

Lovely capture!

Stu said...

Great Plover pictures and yes the chick is very cute indeed.......

Phil said...

Great pics of the Kentish, and it's not always easy to find the young birds when they crouch and the adults warn them. It certainly chose the best available spot to try and hide.

Russell said...

Some excellent photographs as always, Ayuwat. I can never approach plovers so closely as to identify them so accuratley expecially rarer species.

Chris said...

So long I did not visit you, sorry... Was so busy... I enjoyed a lot this message and this nice Kentish plover pictures. They are great and I love the mimicking dead chick...

John said...

Interesting post - those Kentish Plovers certainly repay close observation !

Peng said...

Ah so cute! I haven't been out to see waders very much these days...