It has been an exiting few weeks along the Wasaga Beach shoreline.
This year’s excitement began on April 18th with the arrival of Fudge, a male Piping Plover, to Beach Area 1. One week later Flash (male) arrived, and the day after that, Peppa (female). The males immediately entered a battle for the coveted Peppa and the prime territory in the vegetated area on the west side of the Beach Area 1 boardwalk, aptly named Ploverland. However, the three quickly sorted things out. Fudge and Peppa were mates last year so together they staked their claim and Flash took off to check out other areas. Flash is a young male known amongst volunteers for his seemingly lack of experience and past questionable choices of nesting sites. Fortunately, three days later a fourth plover arrived, a seasoned female named Nancy. It did not take her long to find Flash, who had returned to where he nested successfully last year, a few kilometres past the Nottawasaga River mouth on the boundary of Allenwood and Woodland Beaches. With their territories claimed, the male birds made their scrapes (nests) at their respective sites.
On Sunday, May 8th, Peppa and Fudge’s first egg was found. The Wasaga Beach Provincial Park maintenance team went into action putting up perimeter fencing around the nesting area to provide the plovers with a safe space to nest and forage. A small protective exclosure ‘cage’ was put over the nest. Eggs will be laid on schedule every two days until the usual clutch of four is reached.
Also on Sunday, May 8th, a new pair of plovers were seen at Ploverland. In spite of high hopes one moved on and therefore we assume the two birds were the same gender. We are still eagerly awaiting Flash and Nancy’s first egg at Woodland Beach. Park staff will assist with erecting the fencing at Woodland Beach and Birds Canada will co-ordinate ongoing monitoring at that site.
Our volunteer program will be up and running starting in June of this year. Due to a two-year hiatus from the program, all volunteers must attend mandatory training.
There will be two in-person training sessions at Nancy Island Historic Site. Volunteers must attend one of these sessions to participate in the Piping Plover Recovery Program this year. The two training dates are: Wednesday, June 1 from 7-9pm, and Saturday, June 4 from 1-3pm.
Volunteers who wish to participate in the Piping Plover Recovery Program at Beach Area 1 – Ploverland will continue to receive communications from and report to Wasaga Beach Provincial Park staff.
If you have an interest in volunteering at Woodland Beach in Tiny Township you must email Andrea Gress at firstname.lastname@example.org. Birds Canada will be working closely with Tiny Township to provide coverage for the Woodland Beach location, and hope that people local to the area may have an interest in assisting; please still attend one of the volunteer sessions.
Further details will be sent to volunteers who express interest in the Piping Plover Recovery Program in the coming weeks.