|A rough shot of the Lesser Sand Plover plus one of the Red-caps on Pelican Island.|
A check of The Atlas of Australian Birds, The New Atlas of Australian Birds and BirdLife Australia’s Birdata site found no records for the Lesser Sand Plover on the Gippsland Lakes. There is just one sighting at nearby Lakes Tyers. So, it is possible that the bird found on 18 December is the first record for this species on the Gippsland Lakes.
|This photo shows the Lesser Sand Plover and our smallest migrant shorebird, the Red-necked Stint, together which allows a size comparison.|
|The Lesser Sand Plover seemed relaxed and not concerned by our presence on the boat just off shore.|
|A side-on photo of the Plover.|
|Like most Plovers this bird has a relatively large eye.|
were observing the Plover it suddenly looked up at the sky and then moved into
a crouched position where it sat very still for some time. A small raptor was
seen passing by, possibly a Nankeen Kestrel, so it is likely the Plover’s
crouching was in response to this threat. The bird lying motionless on the sea
grass and other debris would have been very hard to see from above.
|The Plover began to crouch.|
|The Plover then laid down and stayed still in this position for about 15 seconds.|
|Then the bird lifted its head.|
|After about 50 seconds from first taking cover it stood up.|
Lesser Sand Plovers breed in far eastern Siberia, Mongolia and northern China. In their non-breeding plumage in Australia they could be mistaken for the similar looking non-breeding Greater Sand Plover, Double-banded Plover or a female Red-capped Plover.
Previously the name Dotterel was more widely applied in Australia to the smaller members of the Plover family but strangely the name Dotterel is still applied to Red-kneed and Black-fronted Dotterels even though they are actually plovers.