Three of those nests have each successfully hatched 10 chicks each, which are actively feeding and growly daily. On June 22nd staff from the Canadian Wildlife Service, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and Wasaga Beach Provincial Park banded 8 chicks so far. The unique colour leg bands will allow birders and researchers across North America to track these particular birds as “made in Wasaga Beach”.
On June 26th, two out of four chicks hatched from the Far East nest. The remaining two eggs did not hatch for unknown reasons.
On June 30th, New Wasaga’s nest had two eggs that hatched. The two chicks disappeared on July 1st and the parents were not seen after that date. On the morning of July 1st, volunteers noted a hawk flying overhead and a red fox pratrolling the area. It is assumed that the chicks were predated upon by one of the two culprits.
In early July the Piping Plover chicks in Beach Area 1 continue to flourish. The West nest chicks are taking short flights and will be considered fledged once they have flown 50 meters. The East nest chicks are only a few days behind as they too are beginning to look more and more like their parents. The two Far East chicks have a ways to go before flight but are busy foraging and gaining the important weight that they need to migrate.
By mid July 7 of the 9 chicks have fledged. The West and East nest fledglings are now foraging along the shoreline together and they are even venturing to new beach areas throughout Wasaga Beach Provincial Park. During the very hot recent weather, the plovers were seen taking a dip in Georgian Bay.
The two chicks from the Far East nest, who are now three weeks old, have developed their primary feathers and are now gearing up to take short flights. Within 1-2 weeks our last piping plover chicks will be considered fledglings, which will bring us to a grand season total of 9 fledglings! The staff at WBPP and our amazing guardians are excited that we may be able to reach last season’s record! Every season offers new and different challenges but we are able to exceed all expectations thanks to our fantastic crew of dedicated volunteers and staff.
The fences have been removed and the volunteers have all hung up their binoculars as the 2015 season comes to a close. Volunteers donated over 1,500 hours of their time ensuring that these small, endangered shorebirds were protected during their critical breeding time. As a result, 9 chicks fledged and are now on their way to their southern wintering grounds. A Guardian Appreciation Night will be held to honour our volunteers and their contribution to the program. On behalf of the Wasaga Beach Provincial Park and Friends of Nancy Island Historic Site, THANK YOU!