As of today, there are 2 chicks from the North nest left on the beach with their Dad, Mr. Blue Bands. They were 4 weeks old on Wed., July 11, and the photos in this blog were taken on Sat., July 7. On that afternoon, the little family was resting, foraging, and doing some flying practice around the drainage ditch near 10th St.
When we arrived, all 3 Plovers were sleeping within close proximity of one another, but no brooding was happening. It was very hot, and they seemed content to rest in the debris or small hollows in the sand.
Upon awakening from naps,
the young Plovers followed a bit of a routine: wings were stretched straight up,
and there was some frantic flapping, crouching low to the ground, and running in circles.
Finally the chicks were airborne, and made their way, in flight, to the drainage ditch for their evening meal.
When they stretched themselves upright, the young Plovers looked tall and gangly! They still had their “baby fluff”, and tufts of feathers on their tails.
Dad was never far away from his 3-1/2-week-old chicks on the evening of July 7, watching closely, and piping if people or a Crow ventured a bit too close. He didn’t seem to worry about Gulls.
Here we can see the differences between an adult Piping Plover and his chick. The striking breeding colours of the adult are not needed by the young ones at this stage. A primary concern is for camouflage, and their muted tones enable them to blend into their surroundings.
As of today, we are considering that these young Piping Plovers have “fledged”. They have been seen flying distances of at least 20-30 feet, and are gaining strength and independence. Soon Mr. Blue Bands will likely leave them, and begin his journey South. And shortly after he flies away, his little ones will venture forth on their first migration. We wish them well!
A Quick Summary of the Year at Sauble
There were 3 nesting pairs of Piping Plovers at Sauble Beach during the 2018 season.
Mr. Blue Bands and Ms. Green Dots had 4 eggs that hatched; 2 of the chicks were depredated, and the other 2 are the ones featured in this blog!
At Nest 2, Mr. ObbO and Ms. Sunshine had 4 eggs, 3 of which hatched. All 3 chicks and Dad were depredated.
At Nest 3, only 2 eggs of the 4 hatched. 1 chick was healthy, but taken (likely by a Gull), and the other chick was not even strong enough to make it out of the nest.
So......12 eggs laid, 9 chicks hatched, 7 lost, and 2 chicks fledged. Not one of Sauble’s best years, but not the worst either. We look forward to hearing from our friends in the South that the Sauble Plovers have made it to their wintering grounds.