Returning north via an inland passage in Brazil normally cannot be utilized in the spring months, as the migration coincides with cyclical flooding in much of the interior of that country, making passage through the previously used fall flight areas impossible. Instead, it appears that the American Golden Plover makes use of a different flight path for its northern migration, utilizing the upper reaches of the Amazon River basin in Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia to gather and stage a departure that tracks along the coasts of Central America and Mexico.
Although it is thought that most American Golden Plovers utilize this return path using Central America to North America, there are some birds that fly directly across the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Although fewer in number, most likely this week’s sighting of an American Golden Plover on Bonaire signifies the bird will complete its northward flight straight across the Caribbean.
It is interesting to note that back in September 2019, I also saw an American Golden Plover in nearly the identical spot, while it rested and recovered during its southern trek. Could this be the same individual? Don’t you wish it could tell us?