The sky became increasingly dramatic as the sun rose under the thickening early morning clouds.
Perhaps we lost the third chick to the tremendous deluge late yesterday that happened not once, but twice. Or perhaps to the crows. When I arrived at the sanctuary this morning there was a tremendous kerfuffle underway between two crows and both adults. As the crows were departing, after being vigorously chased away by the PiPl parents, I couldn’t see clearly whether or not they were carrying off a chick. Or perhaps, none of the above. There was an unleashed puppy on the beach, but after speaking with the woman, she and her dog departed. The PiPl were up by the sanctuary at that time so I am sure it wasn’t because of the puppy. I hope with all my heart we can don’t loose the one remaining chick.
*Comment added from my Facebook friend Susanne: Thank you to all for your kindness re the baby plovers. Yesterday after the downpour, I went to Good Harbor. No life guards and it was relatively quiet. There were three groups of people with dogs and two dogs were unleashed, One unleashed dog was near the piping plovers and too far from me to catch easily. I talked to two of the other dog owners. One said they didn’t know the rules and thanked me. The other said her dog is very old and this may be the last time she ever gets to walk on a beach. I love dogs and hope people have a lovely time on our beautiful beaches. I also wish they cared more about following our beach rules, which are common sense and about caring for others.
The adults and chick were acting oddly this morning, not wanting to venture too far from the symbolically roped off area. Papa Plover spent a great deal of time perched on the party rock and surveying the family’s territory (not usual behavior), and got into several times with the Interloper.
Thank you so much to all our volunteers who are trying their best to help keep these beautiful protected birds safe.
This morning I arrived at 5am to check on the plovers and two young guys were building a fire right next to the Piping Plover sanctuary. I watched from a distance for a moment as they built up the fire, and then they crossed the beach to leave. I called the police to come put out the fire and asked the guys, hey what’s up with the bonfire? Their mysterious response was that they were coming back to add more wood. They left via the footbridge and a few seconds later, the police arrived to extinguish the fire.
Building a fire where children will shortly be running around in the sand is a really, really dumb idea. Not only that, but the PiPl family were super stressed, which is not usually the case during daybreak hours.
At about 5:30, two crows entered the sanctuary, eating garbage that had blown in. The parents were very distracted by the crows. At an opportune moment, when the chicks were on the opposite side of the crows and garbage, I ran into the roped off area and removed the enticing chicken remains, and chased away the crows. Crows and gulls are only on Good Harbor Beach in great numbers because of the garbage left behind. If there were no garbage, there would be no gulls and no crows.
Red sky in the morning,
sailor take warning.
Red sky at night,
This old saying has an explanation and you can read about it here on the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory website.
Last Tuesday was a photographer’s magical dream morning. After photographing and filming December’s “Long Night’s Moon” descending over the Gloucester city skyline, I turned toward the east to see a peaceful daybreak scene over Rocky Neck. Perhaps the sun hadn’t fully risen I thought and hurried to Brace Cove. The sun had rose behind Brace Rock with just enough clouds that it was still pretty, not blasted out by too much light.
I then walked along the edge of Niles Pond, meeting up with Mr. Swan who was occupied with his morning swim, which often indicates he is readying to take flight. He did, and with movie camera in hand, he circled the Pond before landing at Brace Cove, near the breakwater.
Eerily, the coyotes were howling in the distance, actually howling, like wolves, and for quite a long while. I often hear their meet-and-greet yipping and socializing barks that they make shortly after sunset, and too the terrible sound they make when killing a creature, but I have never heard them howling in the morning. I wonder if it had something to do with the full moon? Do our readers hear coyotes howling regularly?
Further along the Pond walk there was a large flock of American Robins and they, along with a lively group of Blue Jays, Tufted Titmice, Song Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, and Cardinals were hungrily eating every berry in sight, so much so that when I returned to the same spot a few days later, there wasn’t a berry or fruit to be seen. A magical morning at a magical place we’re fortunate to call home.