Piping Plover Update from Sauble Beach

Kim Toews has sent in another update on how the Sauble Beach Piping Plovers are faring (read her earlier guest post on the discovery of these plovers and the volunteer Guardians who are helping protect their nests). Here’s the latest:

July 17, 2009 – Ontario’s Honorable Minister of Natural Resources, Ms. Donna Cansfield visited with the Sauble Beach Piping Plover Guardians (photo, right, Ms. Canfield holds framed photos taken by volunteers). Ms. Cansfield’s trip helped highlight the work each volunteer has put into this recovery project. She was very complimentary to the group and expressed her appreciation for all the effort. We were pleased that the Minister took time to visit our site and her candor with responding to issues important to the success of this special species.
July 14 – 18, 2009
North nest – The male moved in front of the perimeter and peeped loudly. All four chicks flew out to meet him and continued to the shoreline. This was quite a sight! Late Friday morning, a merlin attacked and was re-routed by a guardian before it could take a chick. By Stewart Nutt’s account we have had 9 merlin attacks as well as several merlin fly-overs. We have lost three chicks, but as guardians we do our best to focus on the fact that we have saved several chicks from demise. Our guardian’s efforts are valuable and appreciated.

Central nest – Longer flights by chick noted again. The chick feeds along the water’s edge and in the wrack. Frequent rest periods in the wrack are observed. Moves into perimeter as beach becomes busy with activities such as bocce and Frisbee. The chick and male were missing for a day. The male was not located on Friday. Later that day the chick flew to be with the two southern chicks. On Saturday, the chick was observed with another new female further south along the beach. This female’s band combinations have been forwarded to MNR to see if we can track where she is from. In the afternoon, the new female and central chick joined the southern pair and remained with them for some time.

South nest – Twice this week the male was absent most of the day, but closer to the two chicks at night. Flights from both chicks have been seen. Thursday and Friday the male was missing all day. On Saturday it was good to see that the two southern chicks had some company and adult supervision from the central chick and new female. These chicks spent more time feeding, but still rested behind sticks and in sand depressions when the wind picked up. Both chicks remained with the central chick for the rest of the evening.

Thanks for the update and photo Kim!