FAREWELL LITTLE CHICK!

Our six-week-old Little Chick has begun his southward journey. At sunrise this morning I found him sleeping in front of the roped off area. Way down by the water’s edge, was a small flock of three Piping Plovers, but the light was so soft I could not tell if they were males, females, or fledglings. Sensing Little Chick’s time to depart was nearing, I didn’t want to investigate just then, but stayed on the beach to film our plover.

Little Chick awoke with his usual stretching routine and then made his way through the tidal flats mostly eating, but stopping several times to arrange his feathers. In no time he was foraging alongside the three migrating Piping Plovers and, within mere moments he, and the Piping Plover flock, flew, not along the beach or over to the creek as he has been doing, but this time, first straight out to sea and then curving around and disappearing behind the Sherman House.

I stopped by Good Harbor Beach several times later this morning and again in the afternoon, as have several of the volunteers, and no one has seen our Little Chick. Although feeling somewhat melancholy (but also very happy) to see him depart, this is the best possible outcome. We can all hope his journey is a safe one. And we hope too, that he parents many offspring!

We have been treated to a window into the world of nesting Piping Plovers. Most species of shorebirds breed many thousands of miles away, in the Arctic tundra of Canada and Alaska. We were blessed to see this beautiful story unfold, despite taking place in the least of safe habitats.

The greatest thanks to all the Piping Plover volunteers: Carol Ferant, Caroline Haines, Jeannine Harris, Hazel Hewitt, Charles King, Cliff King, George King, Paul Korn, Chris Martin, Lucy Merrill-Hill, Diana Peck, Ruth Peron, Catherine Ryan, Karen Shah, and Ken Whittaker. Without their daily monitoring of people, balls, dogs, gulls, crows, and what have you, we most assuredly would not have seen our Little Chick grow into a fledgling. Thank you too for their eagerness in sharing information about the PiPls with interested beachgoers. There is still a great deal about Piping Plovers that is a mystery. Studying the life story of one plover family creates a focusing lens from which we can all learn. I’d like to add special thanks to volunteer Hazel Hewitt who created the informative signs describing the PiPl that you may have seen all around the beach entryway ways.

If you see Ken Whittaker, Gloucester’s conservation agent, please thank him for all his help. After I discovered the Piping Plover nest on May 23rd, I spoke with Dave Rimmer to let him know precisely where the nest was located, and Ken immediately became available to lend a hand. In a way, we can thank Sharon Bo Abrams, too. After reading about how we were struggling to keep last year’s chicks alive, it was she who suggested that we form a group of volunteers. I mentioned this to Dave, who in turn spoke with Ken. It was Ken who spearheaded the volunteer effort and organized the group’s schedule so that at all times of day, from sunrise to sunset, someone was on the beach monitoring the Plover family. We can also thank Ken for listening to us volunteers regarding the importance of leaving the symbolic fencing in place as long as the chick was using it as his “safety zone.”

Thank you to Mayor Sefatia, Chris Sicuranza, and Frank DiMecurio for their interest and support. Thank you to all our readers for your kind comments and interest in the Plover daily updates.

Thank you to Gloucester Police Chief John McCarthy and Gloucester’s Animal Control Officer Dianne Corliss for their help monitoring the dog owner situation. They both made Good Harbor Beach part of their routine and their mere presence has made a tremendous difference.

A huge shout out to Gloucester’s Department of Public Works Mike Hale, Mark Cole, and Joe Lucido, and the DPW’s team of beach cleaners and rakers, who always went out of their way to keep an eye out for Little Chick and helped keep him safe.

Thanks is owed to Gloucester’s volunteer beach-picker-uppers who, on a daily basis, before everyone else arrives to enjoy the beach, are out there cleaning up what was left from the night before and helping to prevent a plethora of plastic from contaminating the ocean. Three who come to mind immediately, and who have been taking care of Good Harbor Beach for years are Patti Amaral, and husband and wife Patti and Kerry Sullivan. By cleaning the beach, it helps tremendously to keep down the crow, gull, and coyote populations, all of which are predators of shorebird eggs and chicks.

Thank you Community!  Without your support, care, and kindness I would not be writing this thank you note.

Several readers have suggested that I write a children’s book, with photographs, about The Good Harbor Beach Little Chick. While I am giving this idea serious consideration, I would only want to undertake a project like this with a top-notch publisher.

Perhaps Papa Joe and Mama Joy will return to Good Harbor Beach for a third year. With less than 8,000 Piping Plovers remaining in the world, we can only hope.

Bon voyage and safe travels Little Chick!

If I have neglected to thank you, please accept my sincere apology and please write and let me know so that I may add your name to the post. Thank you so much.

33 comments

  • Sandra curcuru palaola

    I have so enjoyed Little Chicks story, so happy he made it! A little sad to see him go, but glad he’s on his way! Can’t wait for next years adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Kim, thank you so much for your fantastic posts. I’ve learned so much about these wonderful birds. It adds so much to our Cape Ann experience, too. I’m sure you have also helped to recruit beach watchers, and maybe helped keep dogs off th beach…not so optimistic about that, but we must keep trying. Hope our little friend is well on his journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I cannot even begin to imagine how you must feel. Happy, but sad to say good-bye. I’m glad that you saw this sweet little one fly off. Thank you so much for the photos and updates–they are much appreciated. When I take walks in my neighborhood in upstate South Carolina I marvel at the flashes of blue from Eastern Bluebirds who nest and raise their young here. They are here because of people like you– the volunteers who made the conditions right for nesting, for the nestlings to grow and flourish, and who also raised awareness of a species who, without the help of humans, would vanish from the earth Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

    Liked by 1 person

  • I am all choked up. What a beautiful closing post to a fascinating story about how community came together to protect and at times foster a perfect little precious piping plover chick. I have only lived in Gloucester for a short time (8 months), but I have never felt town pride in any places I’ve lived previously the way I do living here. Thank you for your tireless efforts in painting a vividly stunning portrait of Gloucester and Cape Ann with your words and brilliant photography/photojournalism. I think it is beyond an excellent idea for you to write a
    Children’s Book about the Piping Plover Chick. I would definitely buy it!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Thanks so much to all. It was fun following this story all Summer. So pleased about this survivor and the dedicated protectors.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  • A wonderful ending to this story. Thank you for your total devotion to this story and to this little creature. I wish the chick/fledging safe flying, and maybe we’ll see him/her with a mate next year. Thank you so much!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Thank you Kim, for tirelessly being at the beach early, morning after morning, so that you were there to let us know that Little Chick flew off in company with other piping plovers. As you say – the best possible outcome!
    It has proved that with care and community support, it is possible for piping plovers to nest successfully even on a crowded beach like Good Harbor. Hooray to all involved, especially the stoical plovers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Hazel for all that you did to help our Plover family, right from the get go! Thank you especially for taking the time to create the very informative flyers. I am sorry I did not mention the flyers in the original post and added the thank you above. 🙂

      Like

  • Thank you so much for sharing this story. It’s been so interesting to read about Little Chick and The Piping Plover’s .

    Liked by 1 person

  • YES!!!!!! A sweet cry this am… You and the MANY volunteer Plover Protectors have all our thanks and Planet Earth LOVE!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  • And thank you! You are indeed a Gloucester treasure!!

    Liked by 1 person

  • How wonderful that you and all the supporters shared this passion with us! I will so miss the daily updates and can’t convey properly my thanks for personifying what makes this special place so unique. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Bon Voyage Little Chick!

    Like

  • Thank you for all you have cared for Little Chick and also Mr Swan. We are lucky to live in such a beautiful area where so many people care for the beauty of God’s creation that surrounds us.

    Like

  • Denise Ann Shea

    Thank you for sharing little plover’s story and many thanks to all of the volunteers who helped keep him and his family safe. Seeing him fly off with other plovers to whatever place they will winter at must be bittersweet–almost like seeing your youngest go off to college….

    Like

  • I have followed this amazing project all summer. I fell in love with the little guy! Thanks for showing us a whole world in our own backyard. Thanks for such beautiful photography and reporting…..and all your hard work!

    Like

  • I have followed this amazing project all summer. I fell in love with the little guy! Thanks for showing us a whole world in our own backyard. Thanks for such beautiful photography and reporting…..and all your hard work!

    Like

  • The entire team will not be forgotten for all the love and affection shown and will return to each and every one of you two-fold! 🙂 Dave & Kim 🙂

    Thank You! all it’s all about the foundation and community shown that way!

    Bee Gees Lyrics
    Play “Spirits (Having Flo…”
    “Spirits (Having Flown)”

    I never fell in love so easily
    Where the four winds blow I carry on
    I’d like to take you where my spirit flies
    Through the empty skies we go alone
    Never before having flown

    Faster than light’ning is this heart of mine
    In the face of time I carry on
    I’d like to take you where my rainbow ends
    Be my lover friend, we go alone
    Never before having flown

    I am your hurricane
    Your fire in the sun
    How long must I live in the air
    You are my paradise
    My angel on the run
    How long must I wait
    It’s the dawn of the feeling
    That starts from the moment you’re there

    You’ll never know what you have done for me
    You broke up all those rules I live upon
    I’d like to take you to my Shangri La
    Neither here or far away from home
    Never before having flown

    I am your hurricane
    Your fire in the sun
    How long must I live in the air
    You are my paradise
    My angel on the run
    How long must I wait
    It’s the dawn of the feeling
    That starts from the moment you’re there

    There I’d like to take you where my spirit flies
    Through the empty skies we go alone
    Never before having flown

    Bee Gees – Spirits (Having Flown

    Like

  • I have loved reading about this. Thank you, it was really wonderful to have this account of Little Chick.

    Like

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