Saturday, March 31, 2007

they're back

Right on schedule, the piping plovers are back on Plum Island. Well, at least two of them are. Tom Wetmore reported them to the massbird list on Tuesday. I haven't been to the beach yet -- plover warden coverage starts April 1 and my first shift isn't until April 6 because I've just got too much on my plate right now. That hasn't stopped me from obsessing about predation by crows, which is a major problem across river at Crane's Beach.

The link to the Salem News article about the plans for dealing with the crows at Crane's seems to be unreachable so here is a link to the same story as picked up by a Texas newspaper. Basically, the Trustees of Reservations are going to have sharpshooters shoot the crows. They're also doing away with predator exclosures, which crows have learned to associate with plover chicks available for eating. They're going to poison the gulls (let's hope they use a better poison than the infamous Monomoy gull-poisoning project). No word on what they're going to do about the mammalian predators like skunks and foxes, which used to be foiled by the predator exclosures.

I haven't heard yet whether the refuge is also going to abandon predator exclosures. I didn't go to the orientation this year (it's optional for returning volunteers) so if that was mentioned I didn't hear it. I will find out when the biological staff finds the first nests, I guess.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

beach nesting species in decline in Massachusetts

Times are tough for beach nesting bird species. This article from today's Boston Globe lays it all out for you. The Globe article doesn't mention predation by crows, a growing problem for piping plover chicks. I don't know if crows are also a problem for least terns.

The article also mentions Mass Audubon's labor intensive piping plover monitoring program, which reminds me I wanted to write about how what I do, which is basically talk to people about piping plovers and enforce the refuge's regulations protecting them, differs from what the Mass Audubon volunteers do, which is actually monitor the nests. I'll get to it. I'm still trying to get back into the swing of writing about things other than digital telephony.

I know folks are seeing piping plovers on the Cape but I haven't heard of anybody seeing them up here on the Noth Shaw (that's North Shore in the local accent) yet. I wish they'd get here soon. I almost can't wait.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

speaking of new identities

Blogger made me pick a new screen name when I converted to the new (no longer Beta) version. So if Hammer Chick starts showing up in your comments, it's really me, plain old lowercase janet with a spiffy new identity. People from the gray cubicle high tech sector of my life will get the Hammer reference. It was the first thing that leaped to mind after Plover Chick ... :-)

starting over

Believe it or not, I filled up all the disk space on my account at Software Tool and Die -- oldest ISP on the planet -- and since I can't use fancy blog tools there anyway, I'm transitioning the all important Plover Warden Diaries to blogspot. The archives will remain at my old site until they turn to dust, an EMP takes out all magnetic media in the USA, or I think of a cool domain name other than (which I so stupidly sold and then changed to and start all over again on a new ISP with the new name and new content and maybe even a new identity.