[All photographs copyright, Gary Nunn 2013] – Within the last couple of days here in San Diego County the shorebird numbers shifted significantly higher, five or ten fold I would say – quite dramatic! But bigger news was emerging of a sighting, by bird surveyor Matt Sadowski, of a Lesser Sand-Plover Charadrius mongolus on the private South Bay Salt Works. Luckily it was relocated later in the day by Lea Squires at the north terminus of 7th St., Imperial Beach, a publicly accessible area, where many of us enjoyed close views of this colorful Asian vagrant. This is the first time Lesser Sand-Plover has been recorded in San Diego County.
This male individual in alternate plumage would appear to be the expected northeastern Siberian form C. m. stegmanni, showing off a white forehead patch bisected by a vertical black line, which is a casual visitor to the West Coast. A much sought after rarity in California, Lesser Sand-Plover has been found on only eleven occasions previously here in the state. The closest record to San Diego County came from immediately north of here in Orange County in 2011. Lucky for us the 12th record at last pushed on a little further south!