Here’s my next photo in the series of 2014 photos that I never got around to looking at and posting. I ran a similar photo in April, but here’s another look at a Piping Plover _ an endangered bird in New England _ preening at Audubon Coastal Connecticut Center at Milford Point. The photo was taken in April 2014.
I’ve been volunteering to monitor shorebirds at a Connecticut beach this spring. This involves looking for Piping Plovers, American Oystercatchers and other birds that rely on coastal areas to raise their families. I’ve found several nests of plovers and oystercatchers and it’s a thrill to know they are using our beaches to raise the next generation of shorebirds. The areas are roped off and nests are further protected by fencing.
Until now, traffic has been fairly light on the beaches. A few beach walkers, some with dogs on leashes, are all I’ve come across. (Of course I monitor the birds on Monday mornings, so beach traffic is expected to be light.) But with the Memorial Day weekend upon us, beach traffic will increase tremendously — just at a time when the birds are most vulnerable with eggs and babies to take care of.
When you visit beaches this weekend and throughout the summer, please keep in mind that shorebirds may be nesting nearby and to give them a wide berth. The most vulnerable areas along our beaches are roped off, so mind the barriers and keep dogs on leashes (if dogs are even allowed at your favorite beach.) The crowded beaches are not likely to have nesting shorebirds, but be mindful when visiting the less traveled coastal areas.
Thank you and have a great weekend.
Did you find the Piping Plover in the photo I posted last week? Most people did, at least eventually, based on the poll results at the end of the post.
The answer is below. Click on “continue reading” to see the photo again with an arrow pointing to the bird.
For those who missed the photo, scroll down a few posts and see how long it takes you to find the Piping Plover. Then come back here for the answer. Thanks for checking out http://www.birdsofnewengland.com
My latest For the Birds Column focuses on the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, or in other words, volunteering to monitor Piping Plovers, Least Terns, American Oystercatchers and other shorebirds. The program is important in order to help protect these threatened birds. (See the column here.)
To give you an idea of the challenges faced by volunteers in finding Piping Plovers, here’s a fun little quiz for everybody. When on the beach you really have to look for motion in order to find the birds most of the time as they blend in so terrifically with their beach surroundings. With that in mind … the task of the quiz is simple: find the Piping Plover in the above photo.
Let me know how you did. I’ll post the answer later this week for those who can’t find it.
So I woke up the boys for school, got them breakfast and rushed them to the car for drop off. I turned into the school parking lot: empty. No school. Scheduled “staff development” day. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve done that. Damn.
Oh well. I’ve committed to monitoring Piping Plovers and other shorebirds and, later, Least Terns on a volunteer basis on Monday mornings through the spring and summer. “Boys, we’re going shorebird monitoring.”
They didn’t object and Will was actually excited and wanted to carry the camera with him. I filled them in on what we were looking for and, more importantly, why we were looking for them. Piping Plovers are a threatened species and protecting their nesting areas is critically important.
We saw about 10 Piping Plovers today (Monday, April 21, 2014), including a pair copulating. “That’s how they make babies,” I told Andrew and told him how to spell ‘copulation.’ He was the official note taker for the day. Wonder if he’ll try to use that word in one of his fifth-grade essays. It’s OK as long as he uses it correctly and age appropriately, I guess.
We also saw eight American Oystercatchers, a pair of Osprey and countless shells, which entertained the boys as much as the birds.
All in all, a good, educational day with the boys. Thank goodness school was out.