Just a short update on the plover numbers today ...
It was pouring rain at my house at 7:00 AM so after about 5 minutes of internal debate I decided to go back to bed instead of to the refuge. Of course by 10:30 the sun was shining brightly and the puddles were drying up. Sigh.
Anyway, I received an update via email, so biological staff must have been out there yesterday in the heat. Looks like they found good news. As of 6/22:
Refuge beach: 25 pair, 23 nests, 5 chicks, 2 fledged.
Sandy Point: 4 pair, 4 nests.
Town beach: zero.
Yay fledglings! Yay chicks! Yay renesting!
I'm so glad the giant high tide didn't set them back as badly as I feared.
BTW, I don't have any news on the least tern colony at Sandy Point. If I get some time between my three jobs, volunteering, and family gatherings, I'll take a walk down there to see for myself.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Monday, June 18, 2012
Bird of the Day: Great black back
Weird Wrack Item of the Week: a newspaper wrapped around seaweed
Invisi-bird Status: As of Friday: Refuge beach: 16 pairs, 11 nests, 8 chicks; Sandy Point: 3 pairs, 1 nest; Town beach: zero. Number actually seen by me: zero.
There were a few people fishing, but not catching much. Common and least terns were catching plenty though. There was a steady stream of visitors, most of whom didn't stay long as it got colder and colder in the wind. June 16 and I'm wishing I'd brought gloves! I did get to explain the piping plover life cycle to a few people and chase down one jogger made oblivious to signage by her iPod (what is it with headphones rendering people unable to read signs?)
A few common grackles showed up to poke around in the wrack. One of them might have been the official bait-stealing grackle as it showed great interest in the fisherman's coolers and bait buckets and it did have a kind of funky tail feather, though not as pronounced as the one we were talking about last week. The grackles showed extraordinary interest in a newspaper wrapped around a pile of seaweed -- kind of a wrack wrap.
|the inevitable Hooksett disc|
Monday, June 11, 2012
|beach -- looking south|
Coffee of the Day: Ethiopian Harrar
Bird of the Day: least tern
Weird Wrack Item of the Week: large dark mysterious thing on the closed part of the beach -- people kept asking if it was some kind of nest structure for plovers or terns, so I got to explain their nesting habits but never did figure out what the mystery thing was.
Invisi-bird status: unknown (has biological staff been kidnapped by aliens or washed over by a huge rogue wave?); number actually seen by me: zero. The last status I had before the storm and giant high tide was : Refuge beach: 23 pair/21 nests/27 chicks; Sandy Pt: 5 pr/5nests/4 chicks; Town beach: 0. I hope some of the young survived.
Saturday was Go Fish day. That's the event that used to be "Let's Go Fishing" or "Kids Fishing Day" or various other titles over the years. It started at 9:00 and ran 'til noon so I had a quiet first hour and a busy rest of the shift. Lots of the usual suspects like Big Steve (whom I hadn't seen since the day of the Steve Trifecta) were there. I saw fisherpeople Rick and Nancy for the first time this season. Still haven't seen Science Fiction Fishing Guy or the bait-stealing grackle. Rick commented that he had yet to see the grackle this season. How long do common grackles live?
|Rick getting the rods ready|
It took awhile for the fishing kids to arrive from headquarters so the crowd built slowly but did finally get very lively.
|kids -- and adults -- fishing|
There were many jokes about fishing for kids, like "how many kids did you catch?" We discovered the way to catch kids is with fish! Big fish! One of the refuge volunteers landed an enormous striper -- 34 pounds! All the kids on the beach made a beeline to the fish.
Toddlers were having their parents take photos of them with the huge fish. I've never seen so much excitement about one fish.
|fish -- toddler feet for scale|
I caught a fish too -- a windblown paper fish bound for the closed area of beach -- in midair. It had the name Maria on the back. I left it at the check-in table near the bait in case Maria came looking for it.
I was pretty busy with visitors and other stuff, so I didn't take a whole lot of photos and my bird list for the day is kinda short, but it was a spectacular day to be on the beach. All the visitors were cooperative. There were no dogs, and I only had to chase one toddler. I got to give the whole piping plover life cycle speech to a couple of people and answered some questions about least terns too. Mainly people wanted to know how the plovers did during the storm. Wish I had up to date info to give them.