PIPING PLOVER PATROL UPDATE FROM DAY TWENTY SIX!

Good Morning from the Good Harbor Beach Piping Plover patrol brigade! Today we were joined by Gloucester Chief of Police John McCarthy and animal control officer Dianne Corliss. Thank you to both for their continued help in monitoring the dog owner situation. They got to see our Little Chick and parents and it was awesome!

Day by day we see our Little Chick developing new skills. Today he stood on one leg while resting, just as do adult Piping Plovers. When birds stand on one leg, it is a way to conserve heat and energy. For the second day in a row, Little Chick has not needed his parents to regulate his body temperature. He now takes naps on his own in the sand.

Papa Plover and Little Chick standing on one leg.

Napping in the sand.

Regarding flying, there is misinformation circulating about the chicks flying ability. As of this morning, July 18th, our chick has only been seen by the PIPl monitors doing a run-hop-low-airborne thing for a distance of about five to six feet, not fifty to sixty feet. It’s important to clarify so folks don’t think that the chick can easily fly away from an approaching beach goer or four legged creature.

Twenty-six-day-old Piping Plover spreading its wings

Compare the size of the wings of the fifteen-day-old PiPl to the wings of the twenty-six day old chick.

What will happen to the chick after it becomes a fledgling and can sustain flight? From observing and filming nesting PiPl last year, one family that I can attest to stayed together as a unit, in the area of their nest, well into August, until joined at the end of the summer by more PiPl adults and fledglings. The answer is not easily predicted, but it is going to be exciting to learn as much as we can. One thing is certain is that the chick is not yet ready to make the long migration southward and must remain in this region to grow strong and fat. The fledglings that I filmed last year were so tubby by the end of the summer, you wouldn’t believe that they could fly at all!

Always a tasty morsel to be found in the dried seaweed on an unraked beach.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

The last several mornings I have been covering my usual 5:00 to 6:30am time plus the Ryan/King shift, from 6:30 to 8am, when super volunteer Paul Korn arrives (he’s very punctual). We need volunteer monitors this week to cover that 7:00 to 8am shift and several other times as well. If you would like to volunteer, please email Gloucester’s conservation agent Ken Whittaker at: kwhittaker@gloucester-ma.gov. Thank you!

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