Tuesday April 3, 2018
Oh Happy Day! Overjoyed to see the return of Little Chick and Friends!!!! Daily for the past several weeks I have been checking to catch sight of Piping Plovers. I looked this morning and nothing, but as Tom was leaving for a noon walk on GHB I asked him to keep his eyes peeled. My heart skipped a beat when he called only fifteen minutes later and said he thought there were three. I raced over, and sure enough, YES, three little plovers!!! They are so weary I don’t know what to think. Did they fly straight from the Carolinas or even further, from the Turks and Caicos, or possibly some remote island in the Bahamas? They are so sleepy-eyed and only want to rest.
Will they stay or are they on their way further north? Is this a passing passel of plovers? Could this be Little Chick or Papa and Mama Plover returning? It’s so cold and damp, rain is predicted and later this week, snow. What do Plovers do in the snow?
Wednesday April 4th
The Piping Plovers stayed the night, all three! They have been joined by a nearly as tiny little shorebird, a Dunlin I think. The PiPl appear to accept the Dunlin as part of the troupe. The Plovers seem a bit more perky today, foraging in the tidal flats.
Why oh why do folks encourage their dogs to chase shorebirds? Will have to post about the Plovers if they decide to stay. Too foggy and drizzly for my cameras on the beach today.
Thursday April 5th
Plover flying through a sand storm
Joy! They are still here. Terribly, terribly windy. The Plovers are trying to forage but are being blown sideways. So smart–they are seeking and finding shelter behind the big rock, and are huddling with the Dunlin. Too much sand blowing on my cameras.
Friday April 6th
The PiPl are courting!!! Does this mean they have made GHB home for the summer? If they lay eggs now, won’t that be tremendous because chicks will hatch well before July 4th. I think there are two males, one female, and the Dunlin is still here. Object of desire.
The male with the brightest orange bill made several nest scrapes, inviting the female to come sniff his cloaca and to inspect the site. Courtship was interrupted numerous times by curious and exuberant pooches. The dogs are off leash on even numbered days. Perhaps the Dog Friendly people will help and keep dogs on leash when near this potential nesting area. I hope so much we can make this happen. If the PiPl are able to nest early, the chicks will have a much, much better chance of survival. Millions and millions of dogs, but only about three thousand nesting pair of Piping Plovers remaining. Will the numbers again drop this year after multiple hurricanes and late season nor’easters?
Female left, male right – notice the female Plover’s paler crescent band across her forehead, just a beautiful example of the difference between a male and female PiPl.
It’s time to let folks know about the Plovers, and we need a roped off area as soon as possible.
Sunny and cold and beautiful, with snow later today.
Late afternoon–what do Piping Plovers do in a snow squall? They forage! No photos, but a tiny bit of film footage. What were nice puffy wet flakes at home in my garden became icy, stinging cold driving rain/snow mix on the beach and too much for cameras to stay long.
Dunlin (Calidris alpina) close-up
Posting Saturday and Sunday tomorrow when I have a chance to go through photos.
Great Gloucester citizen and friend to wildlife–kudos to this Mom for walking her dog on a leash, while carrying a child!