Birds Along the Lake Huron Shore

Jenna Skinner Sauble Beach, Updates from the Beach

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What a fun night we had at last night’s Beach Talk presentation! Mark Wiercinski gave a lively talk about the wide variety of birds in and around Bruce County. From backyard birds to bald eagles, he covered an array of species with fascinating facts about each. He highlighted the importance of predatory birds and their value in a healthy ecosystem, a brave topic to broach to a group of Plover Lovers, but a good reminder nonetheless! The evening was full of stories and a lot of comedy.

Next week we will be hearing from Rhiannon Moore of The Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation about the growing danger of microbead plastics. This is a very timely topic as the federal government has recently listed microbeads as a toxic substance, allowing it to ban their use in cleansers (http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/microbeads-toxic-substance-1.3558399).

Port Boy this past Sunday evening, when he was last observed by volunteers (photo by Linda and Stefan Waldmann).

Port Boy (M4) this past Sunday evening, when he was last observed by volunteers (photo by Linda and Stefan Waldmann).

As for the Piping Plovers, there is some concern for Nest 4. The male, Port Boy, hasn’t been seen since Sunday evening. The MNRF Piping Plover Biologist has been monitoring the nest closely over the past two days, and hasn’t seen the female (F4) take a break from incubation despite watching her for up to 5 hours at a time. You might remember that this female was Mr. Lonely’s mate earlier this season. They had a nest of 4 eggs (Nest 3), which she had to abandon after Mr. Lonely disappeared. During that time, volunteers noted that the nest was unattended for several hours at a time while the female was off foraging. So far, she has not been seen away from this nest and has persisted with incubating for long periods. She has also been hopping off her eggs to forage within the exclosure, in the area directly around the nest. The expected hatch is about 10-12 days from now, and we aren’t giving up hope. Please keep your fingers crossed for this pair!

Nest 5 is progressing well with both parents accounted for and regular incubation shift changes observed. Their eggs could hatch any day now as they may have already been incubating when their two eggs were discovered. Based on our estimates, the expected hatch dates are early next week. Flag Boy, our lone male, seems to have left for the season as he hasn’t been observed at Sauble Beach in about a week.