Sept 22, 2023: Semipalmated Plovers are small shorebirds with brownish gray plumage, white underparts, and a distinctive black neck band. During fall migration on the Atlantic Flyway, they stopover on coastal mudflats and beaches to rest and feed. From their Arctic breeding grounds to wintering areas in South America, Falmouth is one of many stopover locations on their journey. This Semipalmated Plover was recently seen on the beach by the jetty at Green Pond.

The duration of stopovers for Semipalmated Plovers during fall migration can vary widely depending on factors such as weather conditions, food availability, and individual bird behavior. On average, these plovers may spend several days to a couple of weeks at each stopover location.

During these stopovers, they rest, refuel by feeding on insects and other small invertebrates, and prepare for the next leg of their migration. Some individuals may stay for a shorter period, while others might linger for longer if conditions are favorable.

It’s important to note that migration patterns and stopover durations can be influenced by various factors, including the distance they need to cover, the availability of suitable habitats, and their overall health and energy reserves. Therefore, specific durations for stopovers can vary from location to location and year to year. Researchers often study bird migration patterns to gain a better understanding of these dynamics, but precise numbers can be challenging to determine for individual species like Semipalmated Plovers.

Semipalmated Plovers primarily winter along the coasts of South America, including countries such as Brazil, Suriname, French Guiana, and northern regions of Argentina. Some of the largest concentrations of wintering Semipalmated Plovers can be found in specific coastal areas and estuaries within these countries. Here are a few examples of locations known for hosting significant numbers of wintering Semipalmated Plovers:

  1. Marajó Island, Brazil: Marajó Island, located in the mouth of the Amazon River, is a critical wintering area for Semipalmated Plovers. The extensive mudflats and beaches on the island provide ideal foraging habitats for these birds.
  2. Guianas, including Suriname and French Guiana: The coastal regions and wetlands in these countries serve as important wintering grounds for Semipalmated Plovers. They can be found along the coastline and estuaries.
  3. Northeastern Argentina: In the northern regions of Argentina, particularly in estuaries and coastal areas along the Parana River and its delta, Semipalmated Plovers can be observed during the winter months.

It’s worth noting that these birds are highly migratory, and their wintering distribution can vary from year to year based on factors like food availability and environmental conditions. Conservation efforts and monitoring by ornithologists and birdwatchers help in understanding and protecting these birds during their wintering periods.