A small group of Piping Plovers has arrived on Sauble Beach to do some feeding, resting, bickering, and ..... possibly nesting! They all look very handsome in their breeding colours, and it is tough to tell males from females.
I visited on Wednesday evening (May 10) and Thursday morning, and, with the help of Don Kennedy, was able to find 7 birds on the beach. Don has checked in with the Plovers every morning, and has kept close track of them since their arrival about 10 days ago. This year they are scattered from the very north end of Sauble right down past the volleyball courts.
The first male to arrive on the beach was “Flag Boy”, a Plover that has been an excellent father for 2 years in a row at Sauble.
His bands are Of, O, B : X, L.
Flag Boy has been keeping company with this little female, whose bands are X , Y/O : O , Y (#025).
The second pair of Piping Plovers is an interesting couple.....
We will have to wait to see if any mating occurs between these two before we can know which bird is the male and which is the female.
One of the Plovers has no bands at all:
The second bird is quite amazing to watch. Until one looks closely, it seems that there is nothing unusual about this Piping Plover. However, the right foot is missing, and this little bird seems to manage just fine without its toes....
Band combination is X , B/O/B : O , --.
The third pair of Piping Plovers is spending time at the north end of the beach together. They were nowhere to be found on Wednesday afternoon, but there was another unlikely couple feeding along the shore together. A Sanderling and a Piping
Plover --- with the bands X , Y (#062) : O , O/Y --- spent the late afternoon in one another’s company.
The next morning, this same Plover (#062).....
and the "missing couple” from the previous afternoon were all on the beach piping and chasing each other. First the 2 Plovers which are a pair did some running and facing off and flying out over the water together (maybe some pre-mating behaviour?) before returning to feed on the beach.
The female of this pair is “Green Dots”. Her bands are
O (G dots) , O/Y : X , --- , and she had 2 separate nests on the beach last year with 2 different mates. Both mates were predated during the incubation of eggs, and she lost both clutches of eggs when she couldn’t incubate alone.
Here is a picture of Ms. Green Dots from last year (2016):
The male is another new player this year!
His bands are X , B/O : O , B (#21 or 021).
Once he and Green Dots finished chasing each other around, this little Plover (Blue Band) and the Plover (#062) that had been with the Sanderling the evening before went a few rounds!
So at the present time, it looks like there are 7 Piping Plovers on Sauble Beach. Let’s hope for a better breeding season for these little birds than the one they had last year!
I hope that the information on this page is accurate ..... if you have questions or corrections, please scroll to the top and click on the “Contact” page to get in touch with me. Thanks, Don and Anna, for keeping me company, and helping to find all these birds.
Don, your passion and commitment are amazing!