I spent quite a bit of time late summer/early fall learning to identify as many of the various common shorebirds as I could. Thankfully, the Bolsa Chica wetlands are not too far up the coast and make a great classroom. This Semipalmated Plover is one of my favorites, although all Plovers are almost unbearably cute! This bird is differentiated from the Killdeer because it is small and has only one neck ring where the Killdeer has two. The SPPs neck ring is complete whereas the Snowy Plover does not have a complete ring. The Snowy is also smaller and more likely to be found on sand dune habitat.
Those dark objects are zillions of empty shells that the many birds at Bolsa Chica have already picked clean.
Another field mark for the Semi...bright legs. The Snowy Plover has gray legs.
Here's a bit better look at that neck ring...complete all the way around = Semi-Palmated Plover.
I got so interested in Plovers that I participated in a Snowy Plover survey and field trip in Sept/Oct and will be sharing more about that threatened species in a future post.