Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Saturday's shift as north plover warden was extremely rewarding. The whole beach at Lot 1 was closed because biological staff had seen piping plover chicks feeding in that area.  Staff were eager to know if there were still chicks feeding there, as they will keep it closed until no chicks have been seen feeding there for 3 days. My mission was to be on the lookout for chicks.
Beach with Room for PIPL to Roam
Coffee of the Day: Tanzania Peaberry
Bird of the Day: Piping Plover
Weird Wrack Item of the Week: a dead striper
Invisi-bird Status: As of Friday: Refuge: 26 pairs, 4 nests, 25 chicks, 7 fledged; Sandy Point: 6 pair, 1 nest, 5 chicks; Newbury town beach: 1 pair, 3 chicks. Number actually seen by me: 6! 4 chicks, 1 adult, 1 possible fledgling (or about to fledge).

Adult Invisi-bird
There were indeed chicks.  First I spotted one older chick that fed along the waterline for awhile and then ran off somewhere out of sight. Later on, 4 chicks and an adult put on a show of all the cute plover behaviors.   A running piping plover chick is a amazing sight to behold.

Two Chicks
Visitors were mostly  well behaved and responsive. The first visitor I talked with was a guy who lives near the nest on the town beach. He said he hadn't seen the chicks in a few days and wanted to know if I had any news from biological staff. I also talked to a family from Chicago who were staying at the hotel, they were very interested in the plovers and our efforts. Nice to be appreciated :-)
I'm the Cutest Thing on the Planet
In addition to the cutest birds on the planet, I got to see a major tern feeding frenzy -- with common, least, and even roseate terns diving after small fish who were fleeing from bigger fish.  One juvenile common tern (still a fair amount of brown wash on the feathers) flew after an adult that was carrying a fish. When the adult landed, the juvenile landed right next to it and begged. The adult ate the fish.

A cormorant surfaced with a small flounder in its bill only to have a great black back swoop in and steal it in a textbook demonstration of kleptoparasitism.

No, I'm the Cutest Thing on the Planet
On the drive back into Newburyport, I spotted the rare Aptenodytes Joppaae on an ice floe in the Merrimack. I think my last sighting of Joppa Penguin was in 2009.


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