2017 Wrap-Up Celebration

Alicia Fortin Sauble Beach, Uncategorised

This season has been full of ups and downs for both the Piping Plovers and the individuals watching over them! Join us for a celebration and season overview on August 23! We will be serving cake at 6:30pm so that by 7:00pm our wrap up presentation will be underway.

Join us for videos, photos, and stories about this year on Sauble Beach. Visit with other Plover Lovers in the region and smile with us as we reflect upon the season we have had and look forward to those to come!

The wrap-up will take place at Huron Feathers Presbyterian Centre in Sauble Beach (located at 303 Lakeshore Blvd N, Sauble Beach, ON). Thank you for your interest!

Fledglings on the Beach!

Alicia Fortin Sauble Beach, Uncategorised, Updates from the Beach

While many of us expected the Piping Plover fledglings of 2017 to leave the beach earlier this week, they have surprised us yet again by sticking around! We have continued to see both Flagboy, the male from Nest 3, along with chicks from both Nest 1 and Nest 3. In fact, yesterday Flagboy was seen foraging with one chick from Nest 1 and one chick from Nest 3. Flagboy seems to have determined that his chicks are now grown up enough to forage with the older fledglings on the beach!

The Piping Plovers have become more difficult to find on the beach because the fledglings are very proficient flyers. They seem to come out of nowhere as you are walking along the beach, meaning that while only 3 were spotted on the beach today, there may still be others around! We will continue to keep an eye out for them to determine their final date of departure. If you have not had the chance to go out and see the fledglings on the beach, now may be the time! We are always happy to hear about your experiences and see your photos, so if you find these free-flying fledglings this week, tell us your stories in the comments below or on our Facebook Page!

Beach Talk: Beaches – A Lot More Than Sand

Alicia Fortin Sauble Beach, Updates from the Beach

With only one Beach Talk left to go, now seems like the perfect time to discuss the way in which our series is wrapping up. Peter Middleton is known to many as a knowledgeable interpreter and engaging presenter, and he certainly drew us in to his talk about beaches on Wednesday night. Beginning with the way in which waves shape the beach, Peter drew us in to a story about the importance of all flora and fauna growing on our Great Lakes Beaches.

We learned about the age-old sand on the shores of Lake Huron and how the grasses on the beach help to hold the sand in place. Peter explained the lichens that anchor the dunes together, and the small orchids (various species of Twayblades) that grow in the local area. Peter went on to discuss the ways in which plants on beaches have many similar adaptations to desert plants, for example, fuzzy leaves to help retain moisture, and explained how morning mists help plants to take in the moisture they need to survive the long dry days at the beach. We learned of the insects along the shore and the camouflaged grasshoppers we may not have noticed before. Peter brought these diverse species together, continually pointing out their place and the way in which Piping Plovers fit into the complex living puzzle. We’re positive that we will notice the incredible biodiversity on our local beaches in the weeks to come.

Our Beach Talks are not finished yet though! Join us next week for our final talk, Coastal Ecosystems and Turtles as we continue to expand our knowledge of the species living along the Great Lakes with an expert from The Lake Huron Centre For Coastal Conservation. The Talk will take place at Huron Feathers Presbyterian Centre on Wednesday, August 2 at 6:30pm! Hope to see you there!

Plover Lovers T-Shirts!

Alicia Fortin Uncategorised

Who wants a fantastic new shirt? We are Plover Lovers T-shirts for between $15-$20 (depending on the size of the order) for those who would like to further support Piping Plover conservation activities and awareness-raising! We are offering two different styles of t-shirts; v-neckline (women’s sizes) and rounded neckline (men’s sizes). Both styles can be seen in the above photo! The deadline for ordering a t-shirt is August 2nd. T-shirts will likely be ready for pick-up by mid August.

Take a look at the t-shirt image below! We are grateful to Leah Ferguson for her creative design!

PLEASE NOTE: it is your responsibility to pick up your t-shirt. The shirts can be paid for upon pick up. When we know when the order is available, we will determine pick up times and locations in Sauble Beach and the surrounding area, so ensure that you are available to make a trip to Sauble Beach in August! Email coordinator@ploverlovers.com to ask questions about pick-up accommodations. The final pick up date will be at Huron Feathers Presbyterian Centre in Sauble Beach on August 23.

If you would like to order a t-shirt, for have questions, please email Alicia Fortin, Outreach and Education Coordinator for the Plover Lovers at coordinator@ploverlovers.com. Make sure to include the size, style (V-neck or round neckline), and the number of t-shirts you would like to purchase.

Birding Beach Talks

Alicia Fortin Uncategorised

In our past two beach talks, we moved back towards discussions of the birds that inhabit the Huron Fringe. We are a bird group, after all, and we had some great opportunities to go out as a group after the presentations to watch the fledglings foraging. For those of you who wanted to attend but couldn’t, here is a quick summary!

Birds and Ecology Along Lake Huron Shore
Mark Wiercinski is always a crowd pleaser and he did not disappoint! While Mark talked about the Piping Plovers living along the shores of Lake Huron, he went on to talk about the many species of birds inhabiting Bruce-Grey. Mark emphasized the significance of the predator populations in our area, explaining how the populations of Merlins, Bald Eagles, and Osprey that we are lucky to have demonstrate the health of local ecosystems. As he said in the presentation, if an Osprey is eating the fish, you know you can safely eat the fish here as well. He asked us not to dislike the predators for doing what they must do to survive. Mark went on to encourage us to see the extraordinary behaviours in the backyard birds we see every day. Instead of dismissing a Blue Jay, we should look closely at its behaviour, as it carefully watches Black-Capped Chickadees hide seeds for winter and later returns to cache those seeds for itself. Mark inspired everyone to view every bird as an integral part of our local ecosystem and we were very glad to have him.

Sauble’s Super Survivors: A Piping Plover Prop Talk
Alicia Fortin, Plover Lovers Outreach and Education Coordinator worked to bring everyone up to speed on the progress of the Piping Plovers this summer on Sauble Beach. We have found this summer to be one of many surprises, from the birds nesting in unconventional vegetated areas to chicks swimming across drainage ditches! In spite of (or maybe thanks to) the chilly, rainy weather this spring, the Piping Plovers have managed to raise 7 fledglings who will be leaving the beach any day now. We were surprised again when the Piping Plovers had kindly stayed at the “pool” in front of Huron Feathers to forage when we went outside to see them! They were joined by Sanderlings and Semipalmated Plovers as well. We continue to be surprised by these amazing shorebirds, and we hope that they will continue to have success in the years to come!

We still have two upcoming Beach Talks to wrap up our series. Learn more about what makes our sandy shorelines special with Peter Middleton when he presents Beaches: A Lot More Than Sand on Wednesday, July 26. Peter’s theme will continue on August 2nd when Erinn Lawrie comes to talk about some other special species that spend time at our beaches; turtles! Beach Talks take place at 6:30pm every Wednesday at Huron Feathers Presbyterian Centre in Sauble Beach.

Saugeen Shores Coastal Community Workshop

Alicia Fortin Local News, Port Elgin

Going up to the cottage in August? Want to know why the lake levels are so high and what areas are under the most stress? Join the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation for an evening of learning and contributing to the Coastal Action Plan! In partnership with the Southampton Residents Association, they are calling on everyone to meet and discuss their plans for a Coastal Action Plan for the Southeastern Shoreline of Lake Huron. Have your opinion heard! All are welcome.

Fledglings, and Sanderlings, and Flagboy, Oh My!

Alicia Fortin Sauble Beach, Updates from the Beach

As the warm summer weather rolls in, many are still wondering how our little friends on the beach are doing, so here is a quick update. All of the adults except for M1 from this season, known to many by his reference name Flagboy, have left the beach. This has left all of the Nest 1 chicks to take care of themselves. We thought that one of the chicks had left with the adults for the winter migration down to Florida, but this chick reappeared this morning. All four of the newly fledged Nest 1 chicks have moved to the Nest 3 area near Huron Feathers to be with Flagboy and his 3 chicks! They have been joined by a number of Sanderlings as they migrate through the area. All four Nest 1 chicks have demonstrated their fantastic flying abilities. Sometimes their success seems to annoy Flagboy, as he has taken to chasing them away from his chicks’ foraging areas every once and a while.

Despite the occasional squabble, the Piping Plovers chicks are doing well. Flagboy’s chicks have been demonstrating their ability to fly short distances over the drainage ditches and into the vegetation without a problem. Their dad continues to keep an eye out for them though, and warns them of every human or gull in the area. We are very excited that they have done so well, and are expecting them to be on their way south soon!

The Chicks are Fledging!

Alicia Fortin Uncategorised

Yes, you read that title correctly! We currently have 4 fledglings on the beach! Last night, two of the chicks from Nest 1, the most northern nest this season, were seen flying about 100 feet down the beach. One month to the day after they hatched, they have learned to fly! Today, all four Nest 1 chicks were still seen, although they were not together. While three had stayed together closer to the north end of the beach, one decided to branch out. This chick was seen foraging and resting with the chicks and male (known as Flagboy) near Nest 3! This far flyer is pictured below.

Speaking of Nest 3, all 3 of the chicks have been accounted for today, and all are growing up quickly! At about 24 days old, these chicks should be fledging any day now, and have been busy with their own flight attempts. They have been seen flying 10 feet at a time, which is quite a feat, if you ask us! In between flight practice and foraging, they have been sure to take some rest time while Flagboy keeps watched. Stay tuned for more information when these chicks fledge!