My First Dunlin – Day 13

I can’t even begin to tell you how over the MOON I feel after seeing my very first Dunlins today!!

And it was another one of those raw, cold, gray winter days when I ALMOST blew off my walk.

Am I ever glad, I didn’t.

A HUGE flock of Sanderlings feeding among the gulls greeted me as I stepped onto Bank Street Beach.

They made me forget everything.

Everything but THEM.

Them, and their glorious flight, their playfulness and liveliness against a cold, iced-in landscape.

And then I spotted something different.

These two tiny birds along the shoreline that caught my attention.

They were “browner” than the Sanderlings, with longer “curvier” bills.

And so connected to each other as they searched for food along the shore among the mounds of slipper shells.

There was such a “friendliness” about the two, a kind of curiosity.

They didn’t seem as skittery with my presence as the Sanderlings, who kept flying off.

In fact they actually seemed as interested in me, as I was in them.

All I know is, these two tiny birds filled my world today with sunshine, color and light.

On a day when I so did not want to face “the grays”.

Thank you, Little Ones.

Be warm, cuddle each other close thru’ this night.

And be well.  ❤ ❤


Sanderling Surprise – Day 11

It was an eventful walk this evening, to say the least!

The first surprise, was a HUGE flock of Sanderlings, scooting along the shore with the gulls.

Something was obviously washing in for dinner, and the Sanderlings were feeding voraciously.

By the sounds of their excited little peeps, I could tell they were having one heck of a good time!  😉

Such a glorious surprise on this chill sunny day, and more surprises to come!  😉

A Gift by the Sea

Just when I think that our Red River Piping Plovers are all grown up, and probably off and away at some other beach

I find one along the shore, scootling in my direction…

Pausing to look, to make sure I am no threat…

Its tiny black bill, still covered with salty sand sprinkles after digging for breakfast.

Someday I know that I’ll arrive at the beach and they will be gone.

But for right now still being able to see them with their family, watching them grow up, is a gift I can’t even begin to describe.

I hope you’ve been enjoying them, too.

Catching Up with the Piping Plovers of Forest Beach

Now that the Piping Plovers at Red River Beach have all fledged, I’ve been sifting thru’ a month’s worth of photos from my trips to the other local nesting areas.

The Forest Beach chicks appear to be a couple of weeks behind the Red River brood, and I was thrilled to capture this tender moment when a young chick who’d been scuttling all over the beach in search of aquatic bugs…

Suddenly needed the familiar comfort and warmth of the parent plover.

In the quickest of moves, under those soft white breast feathers he crawled…

Disappearing completely from sight.

Having watched these families for weeks now I can usually tell when one of the adults, nestled down in the sand, is tending to a chick. There’s a certain “plumpness” and stillness to them that you begin to recognize.

And then, if you watch closely, after just a few minutes…

The tiny chick is usually up, and ready once again to rock and roll!

The chicks grow quickly and won’t always need their parents in this same physical way.

Which is what I find makes these tender, early moments shared between them, so incredibly precious.

Aren’t Piping Plover families the best?!  ❤


I was delighted to see the baby Pips again yesterday.

Tiny cotton ball puffs scoottling along the sand, with a watchful parent close by.

I think it’s their size that surprised me the most about these Plover hatchlings.

I knew they were small, but we’re talking small here!

And truly vulnerable.

These tiny rascals roll out of their nests within hours of hatching, and begin to forage for themselves almost immediately.

Surprisingly enough, although they are incubated by both parents it’s actually the female who leaves the babies first.

While Papa Piper sticks close, giving the young’uns peep-lo pointers, and warmth, along the way as they develop and eventually learn to fly.

But the odds are against them making it all the way to adulthood.

Even if they make it by the hatchling stage.

Natural predators abound, yes. But it’s human activity on beaches this time of year that is the biggest threat. Think frisbees, dogs running loose, heavy foot stomping, general noise levels;  the adults abandon the eggs, eggs get damaged, etc.

Sadly, Piping Plovers now have a conservation status of, “threatened”.

I am hoping that sharing my photos of them will help make a difference.

So that maybe others will fall in love with them, too.

And we can all pull for them, watch out for them.

Together.   ❤