As the Canada Day weekend festivities have come to an end and the usual summer beach days have begun, it seemed like an appropriate time to give an update on the birds we have had at the beach this summer.
While there have been some ups and downs, we are very excited to have had a largely successful season so far and are still very optimistic for the Piping Plovers on the beach!
We began the season with a number of birds coming through. We have seen at least 12 adult birds spend some time on Sauble Beach, with 4 pairs of adults deciding to make nests here. Unfortunately, we lost the fourth nest of the season during the incubation period when the eggs were preyed upon by what was most likely a weasel or a rat. Things were also looking difficult for the birds at Nest 2 when they set up their nest very close to the main Sauble Beach area. While they had 4 chicks hatch, only one made it to the banding date, and it was gone a couple days later. We suspect gulls were the culprits, as we are aware that the main part of the beach has an abundance of gulls, and we saw the parents fighting them off a number of times.
- M1 (reference name Flagboy)
- Nest 3 chick foraging in the vegetation
On a more positive note, from a total of 12 chicks hatched, there are still 7 chicks on the beach! Many with remember our M1 from this year, who is known to many by his reference name, Flagboy, who has been coming to nest on Sauble Beach for a number of years. After an unsuccessful season last year, and losing his female partner of both 2015 and 2016, he returned and established the third nest of the season with F1 of this year, who nested on private land in Sauble Beach in 2015. The pair have been very attentive parents, and while they have dealt with the loss of one chick to a gull, and a host of predators, their three remaining chicks are two weeks old today!
On the north end of the beach, we have the best success story of all! You may remember F2, with reference name Ms Green Dots, as she lost 2 clutches of eggs last year along with her male partners. She has had a great season this year, however, choosing a fantastic location! With help from vegetation, rocks, driftwood, chick huts and the dedication of volunteers, all four chicks on the north end are growing quickly. They are 20 days old now, and should be fledging very soon!
More updates from the beach will be posted soon as the chicks get closer to fledging!