Saturday, August 14, 2010

the numbers!

Coffee of the Day: Sumatra
Invisi-bird Status: Totals for the end of the season: Refuge Beach: 13 pairs, 31 fledglings; Sandy Point: 3 pairs, 3 fledglings. Number actually seen by me: none today.

The piping plovers on our little stretch of beach did extraordinarily well this year despite June high tides and all manner of natural obstacles to survival. Read those numbers again: 13 pairs and 31 fledglings. My quick mental calculation is roughly 2.4 young fledged per pair. (OK, I just got out the calculator and came up with 2.38461538 -- so I'm darn close.) That is better than replacement rate! I feel like I should do a happy dance on the beach.

I don't have any info on the least terns this year. They nest and depart a little later than the piping plovers. I went for a walk at Sandy Point last night and noticed that the least terns there are still acting like they've got young to provide for though I didn't see any chicks. I did see plenty of adults. The picture below is a little blurry because I used the digital zoom on top of the optical zoom on account of being far enough away that I thought I wouldn't bother them. Though I was quite far away, some of them noticed me and tried to mob me. Fortunately I did not get covered in tern poop.

I tried on Thursday and on Friday for the scissor-tailed flycatcher that's been hanging out at Sandy Point for the past week or so, but with no luck. According to the postings on, it has molted its long tail feathers but is still easily recognizable. Both Thurs. and Fri. late afternoon expeditions were fun though, with least and common terns, greater and lesser yellowlegs, sanderlings, snowy egrets, and of course the ongoing swallow spectacle. There are starting to be warblers around too. In addition to yellow warblers (which do nest on the refuge despite visitor disbelief) there was one common yellowthroat and a black and white warbler. This seems early for the fall warbler migration but everything is early this year.

There's always a lot to see in any season besides the avifauna. You've got your fauna, flora, and whatever the word for the fungus kingdom is (I think I remember fungi getting their own kingdom several years ago).

This reminds me of the poster about the life, death, and rebirth of a tree. The poster hangs in the ladies room at headquarters.
These things look like stray golf balls from a distance but quite scary up close.

Shouldn't this thistle have a goldfinch perched on it?

These rose hips are roughly the size of cherry tomatoes. Maybe a little bigger.
How come invasive plants are so pretty?

Cedar Waxwings against cloudy sky.


Hilke Breder said...

Janet, on Monday 8/9 I saw Least Terns nesting and courting at Sandy Point. Check my blog post today at

forestal said...

Very nice post Janet, great to see those numbers.

Larry said...

Congrats on the great Piping Plover numbers Janet! I hope to see these birds come back big time.