Category Archives: Good Harbor Beach

CELEBRATING DAY TWENTY WITH OUR PIPING PLOVER CHICK–ALMOST-FLEDGLING

Confident Little Chick

With each passing day, our Little Chick looks less and less like a chick and more and more like a fledgling. As with all Piping Plover new fledglings, the pretty stripe of brown feathers across the back of the head is becoming less pronounced, while flight feathers are rapidly growing and replacing the baby’s downy fluff. It won’t be long before we see sustained flying.

Little Chick spent a good part of the morning at the intertidal zone finding lots of yummy worms and mini crustaceans.

Thanks to all our volunteers for their continued work in monitoring the Good Harbor Beach Piping Plovers. Volunteer Hazel Hewitt has created a series of informative signs, placing them all around the beach and at every entrance. 

Thanks to GLoucester High School Coach Mike Latoff and the players for keeping an eye on the Plovers.

Papa Plover, sometimes feeding in close proximity to Little Chick, but more often, now watching from a distance. 

Twenty-day-old Piping Plover Chick

ONLY ONE CHICK SEEN THIS MORNING (*EDITED RE DOGS ON THE BEACH)

Our one remaining Piping Plover chick spent the early morning in the vegetation at the edge of the dune.

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.

GLORIOUS GOOD HARBOR BEACH SUNRISE

Today’s sunrise progression beauty treat from Good Harbor Beach.

Good Harbor Beach Piping Plovers Day Twelve

Twelve-day-old Piping Plover Chick

This morning found all three chicks (hooray for three!) hungrily zooming around the symbolic enclosure, as well as outside the roped off area, and down to the water’s edge, but only for very brief moments. When the PiPl chicks get to the water, they drink quickly, before mom or dad calls them back up towards the wrack zone. Later in the morning they will journey over to the creek, where they can safely spend more time in the water drinking and feeding.

Zooming around the beach at top speed.

So this morning, five of the endangered nesting bird signs were either knocked over or mangled. Young adults lighting fires on a busy public beach is just plain dumb, but destroying the signs is pure viciousness. The Piping Plover monitor volunteers are so terrific and 99.99999999999 percent of the community are rooting for the Plovers; it’s just sad to see how a tiny minority can so negatively impact Plover recovery programs.

More food for thought–why do you think there was a Coyote spotted this morning on Nautilus Road in nearly exactly the same spot where there should be a trash barrel? Because of the disgusting pile of food and plastic garbage that sits there every night and well into the morning (or blows into the marsh and ocean), until the DPW arrives. The Coyote’s favorite meal is the the human garbage they have scavenged. Additionally this morning, I filmed super up close two crows alongside the Plover area and they were very intelligently digging in the sand and un-burying food that had been buried there in the sand.

Mama Plover and twelve-day-old chicks.

Patti Amaral and the King family reset the signs and a full schedule of volunteers will be monitoring the PiPlover family again today. Thank you to all the volunteers and to our wonderful community for all you are doing to help the Piping Plovers survive our busiest of beaches.

 

Nesting Bird signs mangled overnight.

A post shared by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

Piping Plovers Day Eleven!

Three eleven-day-old Piping Plover chicks, one preening, and two under Mama’s wing. 

With the beach rake, crows, gulls, fires, dogs, garbage, and humans simply enjoying our beautiful Good Harbor Beach, there is mortal danger at every moment for these tiniest of birds. Thank you to all the awesome volunteers for all that you are doing to keep these little balls of fluff safe. Eleven days surviving, especially during a holiday weekend, is no small feat!

Learning to follow Mom’s voice commands.

Counting little pairs of legs under Mama’s wing.

Fire on Good Harbor Beach

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.

Pre dawn, and pre-arrival of the DPW, with lots of plastic littering the beach, which washes into the ocean each and every night.

PIPING PLOVER UPDATE: CELEBRATING DAY TEN!

My, what big feet you have little chick.

Thank you to all who are watching out for the Good Harbor Beach Piping Plover Family! Reports throughout the day from the Piping Plover monitors tell of folks who are curious and interested in the welfare of the chicks. One of our little babies has gone missing, but the three remaining are doing beautifully. They are growing rapidly and getting better at following the parent’s voice commands. In the early morning and evening, for the most part, the chicks go in and out of the symbolic roped off area. During the heat of the day, the chicks stay closer to the grassy dune edge, seeking shade from the sun.

At sunrise this morning it was foggy and chilly. The chicks needed extra cuddling under Mom (ten-day-old chicks).

Interestingly, there is a male interloper. He was first reported by my husband about a month ago, when Tom called and said you have to get down here because the Piping Plovers are fighting! I hurried over, and sure enough an epic battle was taking place between our nesting pair and the strange male. I filmed the fighting, which went on for about half an hour, when Mama Joy and Papa Joe chased the interloper far out to sea. Unfortunately, the “third wheel” keeps reappearing, almost daily. I write unfortunately because as is the case with so many episodes that play out in the life of our little Plover family, when the adults are distracted by a perceived threat and leave the chicks, it makes it easier for a predator, such as a crow or seagull, to swoop in and carry off a baby. Later in the summer, as the Plovers are preparing to migrate south, the fledglings and adults will gather in larger groups, but at this point in the chicks development, the pesky interloper is clearly not welcome.

Eight-day-old chick. Could you be any better camouflaged little Plover?