4 Piping Plover chicks have hatched on Sauble Beach!
2 babies arrived on Sat., June 15, and the other 2 broke through their mottled eggshells the following day (Father’s Day). The proud parents, Mr. Blue Bands and Ms. Green Dots, are very busy brooding and protecting and watching over their active youngsters.
Green Dots has her whole family with her in this photo: 2 are underneath, and only their legs are visible. The 2 chicks that are behind her appear to be planning something...
During the few hours that I spent on the beach, Green Dots did most of the parenting, and Blue Bands foraged down near the shore. Eventually the hungry Mom piped rather insistently, and her mate returned to relieve her. He looks fat and well fed.
It takes so much energy to run all over the beach and find food when you are a newly-hatched bird no bigger than a minute! It seemed as though this wee chick was too tired to crawl underneath its Dad, and fell asleep on the warm sand beside him, cuddled close.
All 4 chicks are regularly running to the water’s edge, and feeding well in the rich wrack line.
Tiny and vulnerable, they use the debris for protection as well,
and for a backdrop when they know they are being photographed. See the smile??
The chicks are certainly photogenic at this stage, with their fluffy white necks and bellies, and their intricate markings.
(All of these photos were taken, as always, from a respectful distance with a 500 mm lens, and cropped.)
Their huge feet seem disproportionate, as do their long legs.
Piping Plover chicks are built for speed, much to the dismay of their parents. Even when the chicks are subjected to lectures on the dangers of running off on their own,
they can’t resist using their “stilts” to zip all over the beach!
As of today (June 19) at noon, 2 more chicks have hatched in Nest 2, down near Huron Feathers, and there are now 6 young Piping Plovers on Sauble Beach. Here’s hoping for a successful season for our precious little charges!