Dear PiPl Friends,
Very Happy News to share – yesterday at GHB I spotted a little smattering of PiPl tracks. I could not locate any Plovers, but the beach has been very busy with dogs and they may just be lying low. Their arrival is right on schedule. The past several years the first sightings have been on the 25th and 26th.
Piping Plover tracks, Good Harbor Beach, March 27, 2023
If anyone is concerned as to why the dog regulations are not yet posted at the footbridge, it is because the old sign and posts were damaged during a winter storm. The DPW is building a new one, the second coat of paint is going on tomorrow, and signs should be posted by the 30th. Keeping our fingers crossed that they do go up before the 31st! The symbolically roped off areas have not yet been installed. Last year this was done prior to April 1st, so we are very much hoping that this job is on DPW’s agenda for this week as well.
Signage really helps more than many people fully understand. Yesterday was an on-leash day however, there are currently no signs at the footbridge end. At this time of year, the footbridge side of GHB is the main access point to the beach as the parking lot is still closed. I only ever take Charlotte to the beach on on-leash days because although dogs off-leash are supposed to be under voice command, that is simply not the case at any public space in Gloucester where dogs are allowed off-leash. In the forty-five minute time frame that Charlotte and I were there, 14 dogs were on the beach, two on-leash, the other 12 were not on-leash. I thought we were safe as we were up by the dunes looking for tracks while all the dogs were down by the water’s edge. We did not hear the German Shepherd approaching. The dog knocked Charlotte over and left her in hysterics. The owners did nothing to control their dog as it came back around a second time, only shouting that their dog was “friendly.” We walked back to the car through the parking lot as it was the least threatening choice. Charlotte is not prone to hysterics but when you are only three and a half feet tall and an animal twice your size knocks you down, well it just made us both feel terrible. Me, because I let it happen and her because she was so frightened. I don’t want my granddaughter to grow up feeling so terribly afraid of large dogs.
Back to good news – On Boston’s North Shore, Plovers have been spotted at Crane, Plum Island, and Winthrop Beaches. Our Cape Ann Plover Ambassadors are ready for a super summer of Plover monitoring. Rockport has a new conservation agent, John Lopez who, coincidentally, did his thesis on how off road vehicles impact Plovers. Gloucester City Councilors Scott Memhard and Jeff Worthley have been working with the ambassadors this winter on creating Plover awareness and also working with the Clean the Creek grassroots organization to get to the bottom of the Creek contamination. We have many new Ambassadors and are looking forward to meeting them all at our first informational meeting, which will take place when the Plovers are more settled in. If you would like to be a Piping Plover Ambassador this summer, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment in the comment section. We would love to have you!