New England Coastal BIrds

New England Coastal BIrds

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Massachusetts Northern Lapwing

     Friday, November 23, 2012- Bridgewater, Mass.-  The Northeast is now hosting several Northern Lapwings. It has been speculated that these birds were carried here by a rare North Atlantic high pressure system sending unusual westerly winds from the UK to the Maritimes and the Northeastern US. Lapwings have been discovered  in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, on Nantucket, at Montauk, Long Island, New Jersey, Virginia and of course the two in Eastern MA.

    I have been thinking about this species for over a week since the two Lapwings were found; one in Middleborough and one in Bridgewater. The area is only a short drive from our house, maybe we should take a ride. The bird in Middleborough was no longer being reported, but the Bridgewater Lapwing was still entertaining many birders! With the colder weather making an appearance this past week, I couldn't imagine the bird staying much longer with the possibly freezing ground. Around 10:00 am yesterday, a MASSBird post came indicating as of 9:00 am the Bridgewater bird was still present and giving good views.
    The decision was easy; lets go! We left our house around 11:00 am. By 1:15 pm we were driving down Summer St. In the reports on MASSBird, the area was described perfectly: large fields on both sides of the road with some of the fields being grass, and some corn stubble. The area was very picturesque with the large fields spanning the long rolling hills-

     With so much of the area blanketed with fields, where do we start? That''s easy....look for the birders!! We drove north down Summer St. until we found three birders getting out of their cars. They looked very perplexed obviously overwhelmed by the acres and acres of fields. I asked them if they had located the Lapwing, but they had just arrived, not knowing where to start. I suggested driving down the road a bit farther and look for the crowd. Just around the bend of the road, there they were, and they were on the bird!-

     The Lapwing was at the north end of the corn stubble field. The bird was feeding just over the crown of the field about eighty yards out. The Lapwing facing us hiding behind a corn stalk. Even though our first look was partially hidden, the Lapwing was spectacular! Even at that distance, Jen and I got great looks at the bird as it foraged along the ground in the stubble.-

     We watched the bird for five minutes, and then suddenly a gift! The Lapwing took off  and flew around the end of the field making a quick circle........

     .....bringing it closer to us within thirty-five yards as it circled the field past us; spectacular!!-

     The Lapwing then landed close to the spot that it took off from.....

     .....but much closer this time, about fifty yards from us! Talk about being in the right place at the right time!-

     The Lapwing slowly walked back to the crown of the hill-

     While we were watching the Lapwing, a flock of a dozen and a half Horned Larks flew in, a nice late day treat.-

     The Lapwing eventually walked back over the top of the crown of the corn stubble making it difficult to see. It remained there until we left later in the afternoon.-

      I have always considered the Lapwing one of my favorite Shorebird species. Even though we only spent an hour and a half with the Bridgewater bird, it was a very memorable day....especially when the bird flew around in front of us....that was incredible! I have carved a few Lapwings over the years, here is one I carved for a collector in Great Britain a few years ago.-

     To view my last two reports "Crossbills and the Black-headed Gull" and "The November 10, Brookline Bird Club November East of Monomoy Pelagic trip" click on "Older Posts" below Right-

Keith and Jen Mueller
Killingworth, CT