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…
In the quickest of moves, under those soft white breast feathers he crawled…
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.
The tiny chick is usually up, and ready once again to rock and roll!
Which is what I find makes these tender, early moments shared between them, so incredibly precious.
Aren’t Piping Plover families the best?! ❤
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.
Daddy O was keeping watch from a new vantage point now, much closer to the nest.
There were plenty of big, splashy sailboats.
But I happen to love the dories, the workhorses in this harbor world of boats and fishermen.
They were probably recovering (like me) from a very noisy Fourth. 😉
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.
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 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.
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.
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”.
So that maybe others will fall in love with them, too.