Piping Plovers - 2017 Updates

Spring 2017

Adult Plover Brooding Chicks

© Neal Mitigur

 

We look forward to the arrival of the plovers from their wintering grounds.  Updates will be provided regularly.

Spring 2016

After a successful 2015 season, the Piping Plovers thankfully returned to Wasaga Beach in May 2016 for a 9th season at the park.  Within weeks of their anticipated return, volunteers observed a total of 16 adult plovers along the shoreline in Beach Area 1; 10 of which paired up to establish 5 new nests.  Of the 10 birds, 8 are returning Wasaga Beach alumni from previous years and 2 are newcomers to this particular nesting site. The estimated hatch will take place mid-June (June 10-23).

 

 

Record Number of Plovers Arrive: Volunteers Needed

The 2016 Piping Plover season has started off with a record of 5 nests!  With the potential for 19 chicks, we are eagerly seeking new and return volunteers to help monitor the birds and to spread public awareness.  

Please contact Patricia Davidson at wasagaplover@gmail.com for information on how to become a volunteer.

 

The Green Bandit Returns

One of our favourite plovers is an adult male who first made his public appearance at Wasaga Beach in 2012. Referred to as the 'Green Bandit' because of his two green identification bands on the bottom of each foot, this bird did not earn many fans in 2012 as he vigorously harassed an incubating female who had recently lost her mate.  However, upon his return to the park in 2013, 'Green Bandit' paired up with a single female and has since become a doting 'father' of 11 chicks over the course of three years.  Green Bandit is now a favourite amongst the volunteers and we were excited to see his return in 2016.  

 

June Update

© Jim Beecroft

In early June, heavy rains and wind caused a flooding scare for two of the five nests.  However, the plovers seem to know what elevation and distance from the shore to create their nests.  All eggs survived.   Chicks started to hatch on June 11.  With four more eggs still to hatch, we have a total of 15 chicks at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park!  It is can be challenging to see the chicks at this point as they are often hiding under the proctective covering of our critically important beach vegetation.  Volunteers have scopes and binoculars on the boardwalk to help you see the adult birds and occasionally the chicks as they forage along the shoreline.  

Visitors are asked to avoid using the shoreline when visiting the plover habitat to avoid disturbing the birds at this critical time of development.

Final Chick Hatch

As many of you saw over the weekend, our 5th and final nest of the season hatched on Friday, June 24th. Volunteers watched patiently as only 3 of the 4 eggs hatched but all was not lost as the parents continued to incubate the remaining egg all weekend.  Their persistence paid off when the 4th chick hatched on the morning of June 27th after a whooping 3 day gap!!! Congratualtions Nest #3!

2016 Season Summary - June 28, 2016

Summary

Chick total: 18 (status pending)

Adults currently onsite: 10

Season total of adult plovers: 19

Predation total: 1 adult (Nest #3) and 1 chick (Nest #4)

Details

  • Nest 1: 4 chicks (hatched June 17th, 1 chick may be MIA - status pending)
  • Nest 2: 4 chicks (hatched June 11th, banded June 23rd)
  • Nest 3: 4 chicks (hatched June 24th and June 27th)
  • Nest 4: 2 chicks (hatched June 14th, banded June 23rd, missing 1 chick around June 20th)
  • Nest 5: 4 chicks (hatched June 17th)

Other sites

Sauble Beach update: http://ploverlovers.com/2016/06/second-chance/
Piping Plovers on the US East Coast: http://www.audubon.org/news/beach-bodies-gone-wrong

 

Birchview Dune E.S. Students Create 'Closed Area' Signs

A colouring contest was recently held for the grade five class of Birchview Dunes Elementary School.  They coloured 'Closed Area' signs for the piping plover's sanctuary.  Six signs were chosen and, thanks to the funding of TD Friends of the Environment, were turned into waterproof signage for the beach.  The students were invited to Plover Land to see their work posted and participate in one of our exceptional piping plover programs.

Thank you to the students of Birchview Dunes grade five class for their wonderful art and to our sponsor, TD Friends of the Environment, for their contributions.

Current Chick Status - July 2, 2016

It has been an exceptional year so far for the Wasaga Beach piping plovers.  Of the 19 total eggs laid, all of them hatched.  Unfortunately, as of July 2, we have lost 3 chicks.  The 'go-to' culprit to blame is usually the gulls, however, there have been a lot of predation attempts and 'near misses' caused by crows, who will actively hunt the chicks.  The predation may have been caused by the plovers themselves as the result of territorial disputes. This is not uncommon, especially when looking at the close proximity of the nests in Plover Land.

 

 

The 2016 Chicks Have Fledged

The Piping plover season has come to a close!  With the help from many volunteers, a grand total of five nests along Beach Area 1 broke Wasaga Beach's nesting site record for plover numbers.  Fourteen chicks fledged and are headed to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic coast of Florida.  We wish them well on their journey and thank all of the people involved in making this year such a huge success!

 

 

 


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For more information about Piping Plovers or to volunteer as a Plover Guardian, contact wasagaplover@gmail.com

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