On April 10th I spotted two Mountain Plovers on Antelope Island State Park after reporting it to the UBIRD birding list many birders and bird photographers sped to the island to see these birds which are a rarity in this area. These were birds I had dreamed of seeing and they were even more wonderful than I had ever hoped to see in person and photograph.
Mountain Plovers are also called Ghosts of the Prairie or Prairie Ghosts because of their habit of squatting with their backs to disturbance in the prairies their coloring makes them seemingly disappear from view. The two Ghosts of the Prairie – Mountain Plovers I found didn’t disappear into the grasses because the grasses were green at the time. If they were here now though they would blend right into the setting because the grass has dried up to a faded tawny color.
As I photographed these Mountain Plovers I became enamored by their beauty, movements and that they were not skittish at all. They moved quickly when they were foraging and would also stand very still at times too.
My sighting was the 10th vetted record for Mountain Plovers in Utah and truly I was dumbstruck when I realized what I was seeing in April.
The Mountain Plovers were migrating through to their breeding grounds and were in the same location for two days which allowed many of the birders and bird photographers to get great views and images of them. I never hear the birds call while I was with them but I wish I had because their call sounds delightful to my ears, you can listen to it here.
I read up on their nesting behaviors and found out that the female lays a clutch of three eggs then leaves the male to incubate them and then she lays three more eggs that she incubates. They will renest if the eggs are lost to predation.
I don’t know that I will ever be lucky enough to find Mountain Plovers again but I do know that if I do I will be just as enthralled with them as I was that morning in April. Photographing these plovers was a gift.