Tag Archives: piping plovers
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?! ❤
On to Bank Street Beach – In Search of Piping Plovers
I’d been hearing from my small circle of Piping Plover pals that there might be chicks getting ready to fledge over at Bank Street Beach.
So I headed over to Wychmere Harbor, and was greeted by Mamma Osprey and her very tall and growing single chick.
I noticed that the tall sailboat she and Papa Osprey had been using as a perch had not only been moved to a new spot, but was occupied by the other osprey couple!
Daddy O was keeping watch from a new vantage point now, much closer to the nest.
As I walked along the harbor it was fun to check out all the new boats that had arrived over the holiday.
There were plenty of big, splashy sailboats.
But I happen to love the dories, the workhorses in this harbor world of boats and fishermen.
Walking out to the beach I had forgotten how beautiful the dunes here can be in the fog.
And I was delighted to see that the rosehips were coming along nicely, all beautifully sprinkled with fresh, crystally beach sand.
The sun was doing its darnedest to burn off the fog, but you could just barely make out the Cormorants that were perched awaaay out on the channel marker jettie.
Yet sun or no sun, the beach was filled with those who are pulled like plovers to the sea…
I never did see any plover chicks.
They were probably recovering (like me) from a very noisy Fourth. 😉
But I’ll be sure to drop in on them again, to see how they’re doing.
On my way home, I passed by the harbor once again and noticed that Mrs. O was perched over a very tuckered-out chicklet.
Keeping watch, as they always do.
Happy Fourth of July
Houston, We Have Liftoff
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!
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.