At long last, the shorebird scene is starting to come alive. First a Red-necked Stint in Florida, and now following up on a report of a large plover in a field in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, Alan Mart photographed an apparent ABA Code 3 European Golden-Plover in an agricultural area near the town of Pittstown. This is an excellent bird away from the Atlantic provinces and, pending acceptance, a state first for New Jersey.
As mentioned above, the bird was seen in a vast area of agricultural fields, and while it was seen from Hwy 615 (Pittstown Rd) about 3 miles south of the town of Pittstown (specific location is pinned here), it could be anywhere in the vicinity. It was last seen at the point on the linked map about 2:00 PM, on 7/19.
European Golden-Plover is almost annual in the ABA Area, though all but a small handful of records come from Atlantic Canada, namely Newfoundland. On the East Coast of the United States, the species is known from only two records, Maine in October 2008 and Delaware in September 2009.
More interesting, however, are two Quebec records from June-July 1988, which followed a large flight of European Golden-Plover to Newfoundland the previous spring (Howell et al, 2014). Notably, European Golden-Plover and other European shorebirds staged one of the largest incursions into the ABA Area in recorded history this spring, with more then 200 individual plovers seen in early May all over the island. The likelihood of this bird being a possible lingerer from that historic flight seems good. It might be a good time for birders on the east coast to take a very close look at golden-plovers this summer.
Howell, Steve N. G., Ian Lewington, and Will Russell. 2014. Rare Birds of North America: Princeton UP.
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