Friday, May 9, 2014

April 4 - First Plover Warden Shift of 2014 Season -

Note: I started writing this on April 4, but didn't get back to it because April got really hectic. Will try to catch up soon.
It's that time of year again already!
Coffee of the Day: Boatyard Brew
Bird of the Day: piping plover
Weird Wrack Item of the Week: kiddie car
Invisi-bird Status: they're baaaack! Number actually seen by me: 1.

Looking Toward the Dunes from the Water Line at Low Tide
Rarely have I had such a beautiful day for the first shift of the season. OK, so it was windy and cold, but it was sunny and bright and just downright gorgeous.  Within the first hour, I had a bunch of visitors, including one island resident who said he'd seen two piping plovers flying over the town beach. He also mentioned having seen a snowy owl  and wanted to know if the snowy owls are a problem for the plovers.  I told him I didn't think so, because the snowies aren't usually here at the same time as the plovers. Snowy owls do prey on shorebirds and ducks when they are hanging out on the beach but they seem to prefer rodent-type beings. Anyway, crows and gulls pose more of a threat to piping plovers than the occasional snowy owl.

Weird Wrack Item of the Week
There is an amazing amount of weird plastic stuff on the beach, some of it unidentifiable. The weirdest item to me is also the most recognizable item: a kiddie car big enough for a toddler to ride on. At first I thought someone on the town beach must have been playing with it and then walked off, intending to pick it up when they left the beach. However, on closer inspection, it looked like it had been in the water for some time.

Another Weird Wrack Item
It was like old home week seeing refuge staff again after the winter. Jean stopped by on the way out to replace the mile markers -- they all disappeared over the winter. She relayed her piping plover sighting to me. Later on, one flew in from the south and landed on the beach near the north boundary. It may or may not have been one of hers.

Looking South

I had more visitors than usual on a cold April day, and they were all nice and genuinely interested in the welfare of the plovers.

Looking North
Other than sighting my first piping plover of the season on my very first shift of the season, the birding was slow. I attribute that to the wind. There were a few red-winged blackbirds, two tree swallows, a few gulls of the usual three species, a few double-crested cormorants, and two killdeer. That was about it. No sea ducks of any kind.

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