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Second Occurrence of Wilson Plover in California

A. M. Ingersoll
Publication Information
5 (September-October)
From Field and Study

Second Occurrence of Wilson Plover in California

While strolling on the ocean shore at Imperial Beach, San Diego, County, California, May 11, 1918, examining with the aid of glasses various waders, I discovered a Wilson Plover (Octhodromus Wilsonius Wilsonius) and three Snowy Plovers engaged in feeding along the Wave-Swept beach. They all took flight, circled around over the breakers and settled on the wet sand at the edge of the water. The Wilson Plover permitted me to approach to within some fifty feet, then running rapidly would catch up with its more timid companions which had earlier moved out of possible danger. Similar acts were repeated a number of times; it then took the lead, uttered a few notes and flew in the direction of the original feeding place. On disappearing from sight, I retraced my steps nearly a quarter of a mile, and there, not a hundred feet from where they first flew, on a dry portion of the beach, the Wilson was seen standing on the sand-drift. Its associates were close by. Two of them claimed ownership to a set of three eggs; the other appeared greatly disturbed when I examined a shell-lined hollow in the sand. Suspecting that the Wilson might have a brooding mate, i withdrew to watch from a distance, but as I did so, the bird gradually approached nearer. When I stopped, it would also stop and remain motionless. If I advanced too near, it would retreat, keeping the distance between us at all times the same or about so. This peculiar action was too trying for me, so I decided to give up temporarily the hunt for its nest.

On June 16, I searched the beach carefully without seeing a bird of this species. All further attempts to locate this Wilson Plover were frustrated by the U. S. Government; for on my next visit to this locality, the beach and the road leading to it were placarded with large wooden signs, reading “Danger: U. S. Aerial Gunnery Range.”

So far as I can learn, this is the only Wilson Plover seen in the state since the species was added to the list of the birds of California through the record.of a male taken by myself at Pacific Beach, June 29, 1894 (Nidiologist, II, May, 1895, p. s7).

A. M. Ingersoll

San Diego, California, August 4, 1918

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