Although the Piping Plovers are gone (the last adult plover was observed at Sauble Beach on July 25) 20 Plover Lovers gathered on Wednesday night at Huron Feathers Presbyterian Church on Lakeshore Drive to chat about the season and swap some experiences between bites of pizza and cake. With multiple spring orientations volunteers rarely even meet one another during the summer unless it is during a chance encounter as they complete or commence their shifts. Wednesday night was an opportunity to put faces to names. Laughter and relaxed chatter were the hallmark of the evening.
Thank yous were expressed to the Volunteers, first from Norah Toth, Piping Plover Committee Chair; and then by Amanda Stanger, the new Plover Technologist for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) on behalf of the Owen Sound MNRF staff.
A wrap-up presentation prepared by Plover Lovers Volunteer Coordinator Jenna Skinner, who was unable to attend, was delivered by the Committee with lots of the Volunteers pitching in with comments, and experiences.
Everyone agreed that it was a trying year for the Volunteers. This year a total of 5 nests resulted in 18 eggs, 6 of which hatched. No young chicks survived to migrate south this year. The expectation continues that each nest should yield an average of 1.25 successful chicks but we would even have been pleased with last year’s results when 4 nests at Sauble resulted in 15 eggs, 8 of which hatched and 3 flew south before the end of August.
But despite the dismal results, the Plover Lovers took heart from the many positive encounters they had on the beach educating the public and performing as citizen scientists monitoring the birds, an especially important role this summer in the absence of an MNRF biologist for the majority of the season.
Amidst the kudos and attaboys, thanks were also extended to:
- Huron Feathers for their hospitality both for servings as host for the evening and for providing a convenient storage facility for our materials throughout the season.
- Bruce Power for paying for all volunteers’ parking for the entire season and for underwriting the Beach Talk speakers series.
- ACCO office suppliers manufacturer for donating five custom-made outdoor white boards; and,
- Canadian Wildlife Services and MNRF for their involvement throughout the season (and for the “thank-you” cake).
As our last Beach Talk speaker, David McLeish stated, we can get a kernel of hope that this earth can still be saved by looking to the efforts of this very group of Plover Lovers. Thank you to each special person who donated their time and energy throughout May-August period to aid this endangered species.
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all.