Tonight Gloucester City Councilors are meeting at 7pm to vote on an ordinance change that will impact whether Gloucester’s Piping Plovers will or will not have a chance to successfully nest at Good Harbor Beach. Statements have been made referencing “…a small number of dog walkers” at Good Harbor Beach during the Piping Plover nesting season.
Very plainly said, if there were only a small number of dogs, the Piping Plovers would not have nested in the parking lot. The problem is much greater than a small number.
The faces have been blocked because I don’t want law enforcement to go after specific individuals. The photos are meant to show the much larger issue, that there are many, many dogs disrupting the nesting area on Good Harbor Beach during the month of April.
All photos were taken on April 28th and 29th at Good Harbor Beach. April 28th was a warm day. The nesting area at No. 3 was being impossibly overrun with dogs in the roped off section. Because of the uncontrolled dogs running through the nesting area, it would have taken at least three monitors to monitor only area No. 3, not to mention area No. 1.
Photos No. 2-14 were taken within a one hour time period.
Photos 2-5 show a woman on her cell phone ignoring her dog, her dog runs into the nesting area and goes pooh, she goes into the nesting area to clean up and can’t find the pooh, while in the mean time, her dog continues to run through the nesting area with a pal.
The above group of photos shows a bunch of different dogs playing in the nesting area and could be photographed with roping as part of the photo.
These dogs dogs were up by the nest, at the dune line.
In the mean time, the PiPl had given up on the beach and had moved to the parking lot because there was far less dog disturbance there. Photos 16-18 show their parking lot nest scrape, mating behavior, and trying to camouflage on the white lines of the parking lot.
I returned to Good Harbor beach the following morning, an on leash day, hoping that it would be quieter and the PiPl could catch a break, but instead found a number of dogs off leash. Photos 23 and 24.
I hope these photos are helpful in showing why it is so critically important to prohibit dogs on the beach during the month of April. And that it is clearly not a “small number of dog walkers” causing disruption to nesting.