August 2, 2014

Leah Sauble Beach, Updates from the Beach

Variety store, 3 chicks and dad are south of perimeter in the creek. The chicks moved north towards perimeter all passed within two feet of a gull at the shore who ignored them. That’s a good thing. M2 is still in the creek piping a lot, think he’s lost track of the chicks, one chick goes halfway back and dad finally catches up, all are around southwest corner of perimeter.

August 1, 2014

Leah Port Elgin, Sauble Beach, Updates from the Beach

Carolyn’s update:

Sauble Beach

The 3 chicks are doing well this afternoon when I arrived around 4 ish. Cheryl and Aubrey were hard at it talking and providing lots of information to a very interested public on the beach. The chicks are quite big now and flapping their wings a lot they foraged in the South East corner of the perimeter in the high grass near the snow fence for the better part of the afternoon, had a nap and then off they went to the NorthWest corner and out to the drainage ditch. By 5:30 pm most of the beach goers were gone and the chicks were out foraging around the perimeter and off with Male looking like they were going to head North. As things quieted down we packed up to let the plovers do their thing!

Port Elgin

Looks like our kids have left the nest. They did not come back to the perimeter Thursday night or this morning. Stew spotted the 3 of the chicks on Gobles around 11 am ish and when I arrived after noon we spotted the final chick. All 4 doing well and foraging at waveline. Many beachgoers said they saw the plovers on the beach Thursday. They are navigating around people and gulls well. If they do not return to the perimeter tonight or tomorrow morning the perimeter will be removed.

Survey of some of the beaches north of Port Elgin were completed this morning. No plovers were seen but there are some nice beaches for the plovers to stop over to forage on their way South.

Variety store dad with 3 chicks, all out and about front of perimeter then chicks went into a stick inside perimeter, dad went to them and all brooded best they could fit.

July 31, 2014

Leah Sauble Beach, Updates from the Beach

Carolyn’s Update:
Sauble’s North chicks doing well! Dad piped to them yesterday from the north side of drainage ditch and they all came to him however they couldn’t pass at shore because the waves were too rough so they all three approached the slimiest part of the ditch and waited and pondered he continued to pipe and then the 1st one crossed the water it was then the 2nd followed hesitantly by the 3rd. I will send pictures tonight.

Saw some wings flapping followed by a second with toes mm’s off the ground! I think we will see some practice flights in upcoming days! They are really enjoying the North end of the beach for foraging!

PE chicks were not in the perimeter when I arrived yesterday however were all seen by Stew Nutt in am. I walked to Gobles and no sight of them while Stew checked on them in the evening and they were not back so perhaps they have moved on. A survey of some of the southern shoreline might reveal their location today so I will let you know!

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 3.08.56 PM

Endangered Species: Toxins in the Great Lakes

Cheryl Ferguson Articles, Global News, Local News, Plover Lovers Committee

By Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter
Wednesday, February 19, 2014, 2:16 PM

A recent report by the U.S. Geological Survey suggests that toxins in the Great Lakes are killing birds at an alarming rate.

Since 1999, it’s estimated that more than 100,000 birds have died from avian botulism in this region.

The disease attacks the nervous system leading to paralysis and, often, death by drowning.

Some birds are more vulnerable to the disease than others, among them: the piping plover.

RELATED: Studies show water toxins are poisoning birds, fish and coral 

This small, sand-coloured bird can be found on shorelines across North America.

During the winter months, they migrate to the Gulf of Mexico and the southern Atlantic coast of the United States, as well as the Caribbean.

In eastern Canada, the species can be seen on coastal beaches.

In Ontario, a substantial population has completely vanished.

Water toxins aren’t the only threat that has put this species at risk. Natural predators — like foxes and crows — and severe weather have both played a role in their decline.

Piping plovers build their nests along gravel shorelines, making them vulnerable to spring tides and severe storms.

The Committee on the Status of Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) added the piping plover to its endangered species list in 1985, nearly thirty years ago.

“The interior subspecies of this shorebird is projected to decline over the longer term, particularly if concerted conservation efforts are relaxed,” COSEWIC writes.

“Overall numbers remain low and adult survival has been poor over the last decade. Threats from predation, human disturbance, and declines in habitat extent and quality continue.”

Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons


  • Respect breeding grounds. “If you find yourself on a beach where piping plovers are nesting you can help by respecting closed areas and by informing others about the plover and its plight,” writes PEI’s National Park of Canada. “If you think you may have found an unprotected nest, report it.”
  • When visiting shorelines, keep your pets leashed.
  • Avoid designated nesting areas between May and August.

South Nest fledges three chicks

Leah Sauble Beach, Updates from the Beach

Overall a successful year at Sauble Beach — beachgoer support of the southern nest was positive, and a direct result of this positivity is the survival of three of the four chicks from this nest.

For some highlights, check out this recent article in the Owen Sound Sun Times.

Plovers may still be using areas of Sauble Beach – either the chicks that grew up on the beach, or others migrating south.

Sauble Beach Plovers are Back

Leah Sauble Beach, Updates from the Beach

Sauble Beach has welcomed two pair of Piping Plover to its popular sands this year.

Watch for the Volunteers in their blue vests (or sporting binoculars) to get the scoop. These individuals are trained and kept up to date on the plovers – allow them to share their expertise with you!

As the nests are incubating, one parent from each of the nests will still be out on the beach looking for food. They will most likely be along the wave swept part of the beach. If you see these adults out and about, try to give them space so that they can eat their fill before returning to their nest incubation duties. Plovers are good partners, and share the protection of the nest equally.

Please respect the fenced areas — this is the immediate nesting area. Entering these spaces could scare the plovers from the nest, and cause pair to abandon the eggs and create a new nest in a “safer” location. The goal of this program is to have each nest be successful the first time, and have healthy and mature chicks leaving Sauble Beach. That can only be accomplished with the assistance of all the residents and visitors of Sauble Beach.