I have little experience with Pacific & American, one Pacific maybe 19 years ago and never had a Yank and I'm trying to remember the ID criteria, now which one is greyer, which one is longer winged and exactly how many primary tips project how far in which species?
Oh did I mention I've no phone with me so the cavalry aren't arriving anytime soon. I'm so engrossed in this bird for the next 15-20 minutes that I when I eventually look up and see another car ten yards away from me with a BIG lens poking out the window my first thought is 'Where the F.... did he come from?'
So I gently rolled the car forward and leant out a little to try and attract attention. Got him on the bird but all I got was a bit of a blank look, not what I needed. By this time I'd counted the primary tips showing, although the bird looked like it was moulting some tertials but you could write what I know about Pluvialis moult timings and their significance on the back of a postage stamp.
I just couldn't reconcile the features. Lots of primary showing but on a short winged bird, the tips perhaps just reaching the tail and very white about the head and nape. Then I took the shot below and I'm thinking hang on surely this isn't Grey as there's no white rump so maybe...
Anyway cut a long story short by the time I got home and got the snaps on a bigger screen I was more confused than ever. Was I being fooled by a juvenile Grey. It certainly didn't look like either Grey or any American Golden Plover snaps on Birdguides and I had ruled out Pacific after consulting some text. The only other possibility would be some form of leucism, an aberrant European Golden Plover. After a few calls I finally managed to find someone close enough to a computer to help and banged the snaps on email with some thoughts. Sure enough despite me interrupting his Sunday lunch Stef Mcelwee duly replied and confirmed I wasn't taking leave of my senses and it wasn't a Grey but a 'pale' Euro Golden Plover in his opinion.
First time I've ever seen one of these, cracking bird, really got me going for a while, lovely frosted appearance on upperparts and probably a one off rarer than either Pacific or American just not tick ably rare.