American Golden-Plover at Oregon Inlet, NC


We’ve enjoyed being at the boat docks late day at Oregon Inlet to watch the off-shore charter boats return with their catch.

I would also watch and photograph the Brown Pelicans, Boat-tailed Grackles, and Killdeer that hung around there too.

But, I was really looking for a specific bird.  Sightings had been confirmed an American Golden-Plover was seen at the marina.  But I never did find it, and soon sightings were no longer reported on eBird.  I was disappointed I missed this plover’s rare appearance.

Almost two weeks had passed.  I was at Pea Island NWR when I got a tip from another birder that the American Golden-Plover was back at Oregon Inlet, she had just seen it there a short while ago.

I was ten minutes away.  Off I went!  I pulled into the marina’s parking lot and went to the area she mentioned; and bingo, there it was, foraging in a large grassy area just as she said, all alone.  I photographed the plover from my car so I wouldn’t scare it off. 

Welcome to my bird lifer list, #214 American Golden-Plover!  💃


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American Golden-Plover


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American Golden-Plover


This plover is considered one of the fastest fliers among shorebirds.  No doubt, as it migrates every year from Arctic Alaska and Canada to southern South America, a very long distance.

It is most common for the American Golden-Plover to do a circular migration, migrating in the fall down the East coast of North America, flying offshore nonstop and returning in the spring up through the heartland of our continent via the Great Plains and the Mississippi Valley. 

This one must have needed a break on its nonstop flight south!


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American Golden-Plover


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American Golden-Plover


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American Golden-Plover


Back to the fishing boats.  For those of you who love fishing, here’s a few photos I also shot while hanging around the marina.



39 thoughts on “American Golden-Plover at Oregon Inlet, NC

  1. Congratulations for # 214 “lifer”. That is fantastic! Great shots! OMG, that’s a lot of fish! Good job, Donna. 🙂 👍

    • Thank you, HJ! 💃 😊 Most boats did come back with a lot of fish. The cost for an all day off-shore charter boat was $2,100. And they most all went out every day that the weather was cooperative.

    • In breeding plumage, the male bird does a beautiful transformation to black from face to under the tail and it’s back is gold and black speckled. Still appropriate to blend in for ground nesting. 🙂

  2. Congrats on no. 214 Donna! It always amazes me that birds fly such a long way – especially when you think how long it takes a jet plane to do the same distance! And they are some fine and big looking fish. No wonder the fishermen looked pleased to have their photos taken. 😊

    • Thank you, Mike! 💃 😊 It is amazing, really boggles the mind, the distance such a tiny thing migrates, succeeds, and then returns. On the fish, Oregon Inlet is a well-known, quick access to the Atlantic Ocean, point to go tuna fishing. It is also a dangerous inlet that recreates its depth constantly from storms and tides. Cool marina!

  3. Strange to think of the AGP as a rarity in America but I suppose, huge country, they are not going to be everywhere. A few turn up annually over here mostly on our west coast or remote Scottish islands, I was lucky to see one near to home and it still had a fair amount of adult plumage. It was with a flock of several hundred Eurasian Golden Plovers and the finder (a very well respected local birder with an amazing record of finding rare birds) picked it out in flight as they came in to feed on the mud banks of the estuary!

  4. I love the golden patterned plumage of our Pacific Golden Plover which looks similar to yours. Noy hard to see why the fishermen are happy, what a catch ! 🙂

    • Thank you very much, Barbara! I shot over 70 photos, lol, so I did have its attention a few times. 🙂 Being able to shoot from my car was the key! I was sure it’d fly if I got out and did not want to take that chance. As I left it to its foraging, trucks with and without boat trailers were driving right by without even knowing this plover was there. They probably wondered what a nut I was sitting aside the road, almost in their way. 😉

    • Thank you, Denise! I was giddy with excitement, yet all the fishermen in and out of the marina riding by me and it had no idea, probably wondering what the heck the crazy lady was doing, lol.

    • Thanks Vic! No, we didn’t but would love to someday take the sons and grandboys when they are older. Nine year old is a true fisherman already. It’s $2100 for a six-person, all day, off-shore fishing experience.

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