Beach Babies!

June 18, 2018

On Wed., June 13, sometime during the afternoon rainstorm, 4 brand new little Piping Plovers hatched in Nest 1 at the North end of Sauble Beach. 

We visited on Friday, when the chicks were 2 days old.  Long-legged and sleepy-eyed, they darted around searching for bits of food in the sand. 

 The parents, Mr. Blue Bands and Ms. Green Dots, piped and fussed, and tried to convince the unwilling chicks to brood. 

One chick is sleeping in the debris in this photo, and Ms. Green Dots is calling the others.

3 out of 4...can Plover parents count?


Mr. Blue Bands came and relieved his mate, and took a turn at trying to "round up” their children. The best he could manage was 2, and they didn’t stay long.

 

 

 

 

 At one point, both parents left the chicks to chase a Gull that swooped in near their wee ones. This pair of Plovers was able to raise 4 chicks last season, and we are hoping that their vigilance and good parenting pay off again in 2018!  It certainly isn’t easy to keep track of 4 little chicks that wander off in all directions, and aren’t always willing to listen to the “Come hither” piping call of worried parents.

 

 “Mom and Dad told me not to leave the perimeter....are they watching?"

 The chicks ventured down to the shoreline in search of tasty morsels that were being washed in by the waves.  Such a big world for a tiny Plover...

One of the chicks even tested the water with its toes before being chased back into the safety of the vegetation by a gentle wave.

As the evening wore on, the little ones seemed more willing to respond to their piping parents, and were content to brood under warm feathers in the debris. 

 Big yawns (are they???) from busy babies made Dad wonder if he would finally have a bit of a break...

 

No such luck:  the chicks were still tearing around the beach at 9:00 p.m. when we left!

At Nest 2, there was a surprise: a chick had hatched, and was poking its head out, and venturing a few feet from the nest.  Not a great photo, but proof that there was 1 hatchling on Friday evening!

 

 At one point, the Female, Ms. Sunshine, jumped up and headed out of the exclosure carrying an eggshell, which she deposited down near the shore. Then she very quickly returned to sit on the eggs and chicks in her nest.


The parents were switching off regularly.  When they weren’t incubating/brooding, they spent time in the small pond to the South of their roped-off area. 

 

Mom (Ms. Sunshine)

 

Dad (Mr. ObbO)

 

 

 

 At Nest 3, Ms. Sunset was sitting on the eggs,

while her mate spent some time feeding along the quiet evening shoreline.  A young child on the beach has been looking for “Piper” (thanks to John Strachan for the story!)----perhaps we should call this handsome boy Piper?

 

 

 As of today (June 18), there are still 4 chicks at the North nest, and 3 chicks have hatched at Nest 2.  The South Nest (#3) chicks are expected around June 27.  

 

There is the potential for 12 new Piping Plovers on Sauble Beach. Let’s hope..... 

 

                                                                               The End -- for Now!

 

 

*As always, I have been extremely careful to maintain a respectful distance from the Plovers while photographing, and have not disturbed them in the taking of photos.

*If you have any questions, comments or corrections, please click on “Contact” in the top menu, and I would be happy to hear from you. 

                                                                                         -Merri-Lee

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