"This is like Deja Vu all over again!" Yes, Ol' Yogi said it well. I guess it has become a spring ritual. What am I talking about? The plovers of Palmetto Meadows , that's what I'm talking about! And in this case, Yogi hits another homer, "It gets late early out there."
How many years in a row have I made the trek to see the manure strewn field at the corner of FR253 and FR 186 in the Palmetto Meadow region of my stomping grounds?
A quick look at my life list reveals the truth...... March 30, 1995... American Golden Plover, Pluvialis dominica, Greene County, Missouri. So, that makes this the 15th spring that I've found the perennial plovers in the pastures of Palmetto. An anniversary of sorts, I suppose.
But there is something more significant here. Notice the March 30 date. For years I knew that when I came home from my spring break visiting my parents in the Rio Grande Valley of southern Texas, I could quickly make the trek to see the birds. Their presence extended into early April. But something has been happening to the plovers that has been well documented in many other species. They are returning earlier each successive year! I suspect that most will be far north of southwest Missouri by the end of March.
So, it is, that yesterday, on Friday the 13th of March, that I spotted 28 American Golden Plovers at the exact same location as I've seen them time and time again, but this time 2 1/2 weeks earlier than I originally saw them 14 years ago.
I draw upon Yogi once again:
"I always thought that record would stand until it was broken." and, by golly,
"You can observe a lot just by watching."
Here's a few poor photos of the distant, albeit reliable birds: