[All photographs copyright, Gary Nunn 2015] – After being out of town for the last week, while many great birds were being found in San Diego, I decided after getting home I had to at least take a late afternoon walk with my dog at Fiesta Island, Mission Bay. Good decision! I had hardly walked fifty yards in the very birdy southeast section when I spied a large pale plover ahead. Just within a couple of minutes being here and there was a Mountain Plover Charadrius montanus standing right in front of me! I could hardly believe my luck! I put my dog on the leash and carefully approached the plover which was not too skittish. It did take off in flight and make a big circuit before dropping back into the open southeast section of the dog run. In flight it could be heard calling, a sort of harsh croaking “krrrrt”, as it flew by overhead.
Mountain Plover is now a very rare visitor to San Diego County, last seen in 2010 also here at the dog park on Fiesta Island, Mission Bay. In 2009 a group of six were found by Robert Patton in the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge. None since! I’ve been hoping to find my own here in Mission Bay so this was a lot of fun to discover and put on my county list!