The Pacific Golden Plover at Cley in north Norfolk has been present for the past few days, another potential `lifer` was in the offing and so I made the not so distant journey from Peterborough on Sunday. The journey was made in less than quick time as the heavens decided to open upon reaching Kings Lynn, leading me to drive at 15mph! I did think of turning around, but pressed on regardless, fearing the worst, that the bird had drowned in all the rain! I arrived at Cley, the sun was shining and the bird was present and visible from the North Hide. I quickly made my way to the rather full hide and after ensconcing myself in a far corner I got my first views of a Pacific Golden Plover. This bird was in stunning breeding plumage and very active, constantly feeding and flying. Other birds present were 4 Spoonbills, dozens of Avocets, numerous Dunlin, a male Ruff and a rather splendid Spotted Redshank in breeding plumage (more of which another time).
I apologise for the above digiscoped images. The bird was constantly distant and these do not do justice to the absolutely stunning plumage detail of the bird, but there are useful as `record` shots, if nothing else!
The Pacific Golden Plover is a much rarer visitor to our shores than the American Golden Plover, with 80 or so recordings of the bird since 1870, with 80% of this total since 1990. The bird at Cley was showing the longer legs, longer tertials and the grey axillaries (under the wing) that help to tell this apart from `our` Golden Plover and it also called a couple of times, which helped in the I.D. department.
I am on a roll at the moment!