Category Archives: Birds

SONGBIRDS FROM DAN ALLEN’S BEAUTIFUL GARDEN

Friend and East Gloucester resident Dan Allen sent along these wonderful snapshots of recent visits by songbirds in his beautiful garden. Dan’s garden is abundant with wildflowers, food, and welcome shelter for birds, bees and butterflies. Thank you Dan!Nothing common about this gorgeous little warbler, a male Common Yellowthroat. Yellowthroats migrate north from winter homes in Florida, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Yesterday I posted photos of a male Eastern Towhee. Dan’s photo is of the female! Wherever the male’s feathers are black, the female’s are milk chocolate brown.

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is another nesting migrant to Cape Ann. They eat fruit, seeds, nuts, insects, and especially Love sunflower seeds. Only the males have this striking feather pattern; the female’s feathers are shaded in quiet tones of gray, tan, and brown. During the winter months, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks live in the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

 

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION TO BAN SINGLE USE PLASTIC BAGS AND POLYSTYRENE

Please join the Gloucester Clean City Commission, Councilors Melissa Cox and Sean Nolan, and Seaside Sustainability, Inc. in supporting a ban in Gloucester on all single use plastic bags and polystyrene (Styrofoam) containers like coffee cups and takeout food containers.

PLEASE SIGN HERE

We believe this initiative is important in maintaining the beauty of our city and the health of our ocean and land. Given the availability of biodegradable and reusable alternatives and the economic benefits of the proposed ban, we anticipate support from Gloucester’s residents and businesses.

This proposed ban is similar to those already passed in dozens of cities and towns in Massachusetts (and counting) including our neighbors Ipswich, Manchester, Marblehead, and Newburyport. Cities and towns (and entire states – Hawaii) along the coast line of our country have been particularly vigilant in creating this ban.  Just between 2015 and 2016, bills similar to ours were proposed in 23 states regarding the regulation of single use plastic bags and/or polystyrene.  In a recent investigation of Gloucester Harbor using an ROV (remotely operated underwater vehicle), observers reported an abundant amount of plastic bags and Styrofoam cups on the ocean floor.

There are economic and feasible alternatives to these products that all businesses, large and small can stand behind and support!

This petition will be delivered to:

  • City of Gloucester, MA Mayor’s Office
    Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken
  • City of Gloucester, Office
    Councilor Sean Nolan
  • City of Gloucester, Councilwoman
    Councilor Melissa Cox

 

THE MAGICAL MONTH OF MAY FOR MIGRATION IN MASSACHUSETTS

Featuring Dowitchers, Ruddy Turnstone, Least Tern, Eastern Kingbird, Eastern Towhee, Northern Flicker, Black-bellied Plovers, Brown Thrasher, Black-and-white Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Female Red-winged Blackbird, Tree Swallow, Willets, and Piping Plovers.

May is a magical month in Massachusetts for observing migrants traveling to our shores, wooded glens, meadows, and shrubby uplands. They come either to mate and to nest, or are passing through on their way to the Arctic tundra and forests of Canada and Alaska.

I am so excited to share about the many beautiful species of shorebirds, songbirds, and butterflies I have been recently filming and photographing for several projects. Mostly I shoot early in the morning, before setting off to work with my landscape design clients. I love, love my work, but sometimes it’s really hard to tear away from the beauty that surrounds here on Cape Ann. I feel so blessed that there is time to do both. If you, too, would like to see these beautiful creatures, the earliest hours of daylight are perhaps the best time of day to capture wildlife, I assume because they are very hungry first thing in the morning and less likely to be bothered by the presence of a human. Be very quiet and still, and observe from a distance far enough away so as not to disturb the animal’s activity.

Some species, like Great Blue Herons, Snowy Egrets, Black-crowned Night Herons, Great Egrets, Brant Geese, and Osprey, as well as Greater and Lesser Yellow Legs, are not included here because this post is about May’s migration and these species were seen in April.

Please note that several photos are not super great by photo skill standards, but are included so you can at least see the bird in a Cape Ann setting. I am often shooting something faraway, at dawn, or dusk, or along a shady tree-lined lane. As so often happens, I’ll get a better capture in better light, and will switch that out, for the purpose of record keeping, at a later date.

Happy Magical May Migration!

The male Eastern Towhee perches atop branches at daybreak and sings the sweetest ta-weet, ta-weet, while the female rustles about building a nest in the undergrowth. Some live year round in the southern part of the US, and others migrate to Massachusetts and parts further north to nest.

If these are Short-billed Dowitchers, I’d love to see a Long-billed Dowitcher! They are heading to swampy pine forests of high northern latitudes.

Black-bellied Plovers, much larger relatives of Piping Plovers, look like Plain Janes when we see them in the fall (see above).

Now look at his handsome crisp black and white breeding plumage; its hard to believe we are looking at the same bird! He is headed to breed in the Arctic tundra in his fancy new suit.

This one is for Joey. Sorry its a crummy photo–they were far in the distance–but it’s a record nonetheless. The bird on the right is his favorite, the calico-colored Ruddy Turnstone. They also nest in the high Arctic.

The Eastern Kingbird is a small yet feisty songbird; he’ll chase after much larger raptors and herons that dare to pass through his territory. Kingbirds spend the winter in the South American forests and nest in North America.

With our record of the state with the greatest Piping Plover recovery rate, no post about the magical Massachusetts May migration would be complete without including these tiniest of shorebirds. Female Piping Plover, Good Harbor Beach.

 

 

THE GOOD HARBOR BEACH PIPING PLOVER PAIR ARE STRUGGLING AND NEED OUR HELP

Good Morning Papa Plover!

Over the past several weeks, five Piping Plovers battling over nesting turf have been observed at Good Harbor Beach, from the creek end of the beach, all the way to the entrance by the Good Harbor Beach Inn. In the past three days, there hasn’t been activity in the roped off area nearer the GHB Inn. It appears only one pair has decided to call GHB their home for the summer and they seem to be zeroing in on the cordoned off area by boardwalk #3, same as last year.

Unfortunately, the “Party Rock,” the large exposed rock up by the wrack line, is this year not in the roped off area; the roping comes just short of enclosing the “Rock.” The past few evenings, even before the heat wave, folks have been setting up their hibachis, behind the rock, abutting the restricted area. This morning there were a group of six sleeping next to the rock. Needless to say, our Plover pair was super stressed. Early morning is when they typically mate and lay eggs, and neither are happening under duress.

Papa wants to mate with Mama, but she is too stressed.

Here are just a few things we can do to help the Plovers. Please write and let us know your ideas and suggestions, they are so very much appreciated. It would be terrific to put together all the suggestions to present to Mayor Sefatia and Chirs. Thank you!

  1. Post a No Dog sign at the footbridge. I think this is critically important.
  2. Post signs at entrances to the beach to help educate folks about the Piping Plovers, why respecting the restricted area is so important, and why removing trash is equally as vital to the survival of the plovers.
  3. Additionally, I would love to make a brochure about the Piping Plover life cycle that we could hand out to visitors at the parking entrance. Though when I suggested that idea to a friend, he thought the brochures may end up littering the beach. What do you think?
  4. Fix the fencing around the dunes. As it stands now, the rusty old fencing is nearly buried in the sand and actually dangerously invites tripping. If the fences were mended and signs posted about the fragility of the dunes, folks would stop cutting through the dunes to go to and from the parking lot. Right now, they are walking through the restricted area to access the dune trail. Visitors may also want to know that the grass and shrubby growth on that trail is teeming with ticks, another reason to keep off the dunes.
  5. If folks are setting up a cookout or planning a sleepover next to the nesting area (especially near the party rock), gently explain why it would be best to move further down the beach, away from the restricted area.

Mama Plover fishing for worms

I would be happy to meet anyone at Good Harbor Beach to show exactly what are the issues. Dave Rimmer from Essex Greenbelt mentioned that in other communities where Piping Plovers have nested on very busy beaches, a network of Piping Plover babysitters was established to help the chicks survive on the busiest of beach days. If we are so fortunate as to have chicks, I would love to get together a group of “Piping Plover Babysitters.”Good Harbor Beach sunrise

Rare western snowy plovers nesting in Los Angeles after 70-year absence

Thank you to my new friend Laura Stevens for sharing the following story. I have been to Malibu Lagoon State Beach when visiting Liv in Santa Monica and it is equally as well-loved and highly trafficked as is Good Harbor Beach.

Rare western snowy plovers nesting in Los Angeles after 70-year absence

Mother Nature Network/By Jaymi Heimbuch/May 14, 2017

Photo: Kristian Bell

On April 18, the nest of a western snowy plover was discovered on Santa Monica State Beach. More nests were discovered later in the month on Dockweiler State Beach and Malibu Lagoon State Beach. While finding the nests of shore birds on a beach doesn’t seem like a big deal, it’s an extraordinary moment when you consider the species. The last time a nest of this species was found on a Los Angeles County beach was in 1949! After 68 years, the tiny birds once again are trying to raise families on these busy southern California shores.

The western snowy plover is a tiny shorebird so perfectly camouflaged that it can disappear in plain sight on the sand. It lays its eggs in depressions in the sand, and these eggs can be next to impossible to see until you’re right on top of them. Snowy plover chicks — as pictured here — learn to get up and go within hours of hatching.

Unfortunately, the nesting preferences of these little birds make them vulnerable to disturbance from humans and predation by everything from crows to cats.

According to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) news release, “The Pacific Coast population of western snowy plover was listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1993, because of habitat loss, impacts from non-native predators and other factors. At the time of listing, the California population was estimated to be about 1,300 adults. In 2016, the population was estimated to have increased to a little more than 1,800 adults.”

The news that the birds are making a comeback in Los Angeles County is heartening, and it shows the conservation efforts to restore habitat and protect nesting areas are paying off.

“This is a sign that, against all odds, western snowy plovers are making a comeback, and we really need the cooperation of beachgoers to help give them the space they need to nest and raise their young,” said senior FWS biologist Chris Dellith. “I’m hopeful that we can find a balance between beach recreation and habitat restoration, which will allow humans and shorebirds like the western snowy plover to peacefully exist along our coastline.”

YOU DIDN’T THINK I’D ACTUALLY WANT TO LIVE IN THAT DUMP DID YOU?

YOU DIDN’T THINK I’D ACTUALLY WANT TO LIVE IN THAT DUMP DID YOU?
Dad Piping Plover spends considerable time showing Mom how good he is at nest-building.

Mom nonchalantly makes her way over to the nest scrape.

She thoroughly inspects the potential nest.

Dad again rearranges the sand. Mom pipes in, “Honey, I think I’d prefer that mound of dried seaweed over there, nearer the blades of seagrass. And can you please add a few seashells to the next one, rather than bits of old kelp.”

Rejected!
Here we go again!

Five Piping Plovers have been observed at Good Harbor Beach. They are battling over territory and beginning to pair up. The male builds perhaps a dozen nests scrapes in a single day–all in hopes of impressing the female. Hopefully, within the next week, they will establish a nest; the earlier in the season Plovers begin nesting, the greater the chance of survival for the chicks.

Dave Rimmer from Essex County Greenbelt reports that although many nest scrapes have been seen, no nests with an egg on any of Gloucester’s beaches have yet been discovered. He suggests that perhaps the cooler than usual spring temperatures are slowing progress.

An active Piping Plover nest scrape, with lots of PiPl tracks 🕊

A post shared by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

Not one, but two, potential nesting sites have been roped off for the Piping Plovers. The second site is near the Good Harbor Beach Inn.

WINSOME WILLETS

A Plain Jane, resting on a tuft of grass at the marsh edge, backlit, I at first thought she was a stone. A slight turn of the head and upon closer look, not a stone but a very large shorebird, with feathers worn in a subdued arrangement of brown and white—still, nothing special. Then she began to unfold her long elegant wings. Boldly barred in chocolate brown, this Plain Jane was swiftly transformed to Beauty Queen.

Willets are one of the few shorebirds that nest not in the Arctic tundra, but prairie and salt marshes of America and Canada. For over one hundred years Willets were hunted to non-existence in Massachusetts. Biologists have a name for this tragic occurrence, when a species is not extinct, but is no longer present in an area, and the term is extirpated. Because of the Migratory Bird Act of 1918, the Willet population is increasing and the Massachusetts coastline has once again become a safe home for these beautiful members of the sandpiper family.

Belonging to the same genus as yellowlegs, they do look similar to Greater Yellowlegs, but are comparatively larger, their beaks are thicker, and their legs are not yellow but gray. Look for Willets on beaches, marshes, mudflats, and rocky coasts. They forage on crabs and other small crustaceans, worms, mollusks, fish, and grass. The call of the Willet is unmistakable, piercing and urgent and their name comes from the ringing “pill-will-willet.”

SUPER EXCITING NEWS: PIPING PLOVERS COURTING ON GOOD HARBOR BEACH!!

The Piping Plovers have returned to nest on Good Harbor Beach. Last night I counted five plovers, and today four!

Above the wrack line, males are creating nest scrapes for females to approve (or disapprove, as is often the case). The gents use their back legs to vigorously dig a slight depression. They then sit in the scrape and beckon to the ladies with a continuous piping call to come inspect the potential nesting site.

Dave Rimmer, Essex County Greenbelt director of land stewardship, this morning installed fencing around a possible nesting area. We are all hoping that the Piping Plovers will quickly establish a nest and the chicks will have hatched before the July 4th crowds descend upon the beach. Dave’s message to everyone enjoying GHB is that if the Plovers are left undisturbed, the chicks will have a far better chance of survival the earlier in the season they hatch. If the nest site is continually disturbed and egg laying is delayed again and again, the Plovers will be here all that much longer.

It’s not easy being a Piping Plover. Rest time between foraging and courting.

The Plovers have traveled many thousands of miles to reach our shores and are both weary from traveling and eager to establish nesting sites.

What can you do to help the Piping Plovers? Here are four simple things we can all do to protect the Plovers.

1) Don’t leave behind or bury trash or food on the beach. All garbage attracts predators such as crows, seagulls, foxes, and coyotes, and all four of these creatures EAT plover eggs and chicks.

2) Do not linger near the Piping Plovers or their nests. Activity around the Plovers also attracts gulls and crows.

3) Respect the fenced off areas that are created to protect the Plovers.

4) If pets are permitted, keep dogs leashed.

The last is the most difficult for folks to understand. Dogs threaten Piping Plovers in many ways and at every stage of their life cycle during breeding season, even the most adorable and well-behaved of pooches.

Dogs love to chase Piping Plovers (and other shorebirds) at the water’s edge. After traveling all those thousand of miles, the birds need sustenance. They are at the shoreline to feed to regain their strength.

Dogs love to chase piping Plovers at the wrack line. Here the birds are establishing where to nest. Plovers are skittish at this stage of breeding and will depart the area when disturbed.

Dogs love to chase Piping Plover chicks, which not only terrifies the adult Plovers and distracts them from minding the babies, but the chicks are easily squished by a dog on the run.

 

The Bookstore of Gloucester and local artists for Deborah Cramer’s Narrow Edge talk at Sawyer Free Library

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Fans, friends, colleagues, and teachers enjoyed a free public program at Sawyer Free Library to hear more about the making of the Narrow Edge by Deborah Cramer. The talk was sponsored by the library, Kestrel, The Gloucester Writers Center, and Eastern Point Lit House (Deborah will be leading one of the upcoming book discussions at Duckworth’s). It was a treat to hear more about the long friendship and collaboration of Deborah Cramer and Susan Quateman (learn more about Susan’s art here) Patty Hanlon’s Cedar Tree Gallery at Walker Creek Furniture in Essex held the inaugural exhibit for this series.

 

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Cramer read quotes from her book that also inspired Janet Essley’s art; Quateman, Essley and works by Michael DiGiorgio and George Textor were exhibited at the Matz Gallery in the Library.  Martin Ray’s sculpture seen to the right and behind Deborah during her talk is part of the library’s art collection.

 

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“Unbeknownst to most people horseshoe crab blood safeguards human health.”

Avery from The Bookstore of Gloucester helped with the crush at book signing time.

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Heidi Wakeman, a Gloucester O’Maley teacher, was excited to visit with her first grade teacher, and Barbara Kelley who we learned accompanied Cramer on a research trip for The Narrow Edge.

 

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More scenes from this wonderful evening

Read more

M IS FOR MAY MIGRATION THROUGH MASSACHUSETTS

During the month of May, Massachusetts is graced daily with species arriving from their winter homes. Some need to fortify for the journey further north, to the boreal forests, bogs, and tundra of Canada and Alaska. Some will nest and breed in Massachusetts, finding suitable habitat along the coast, and in the marsh, scrub, shrub, forest, and grassland found throughout the state. For several projects on which I am currently working, I have been exploring wildlife sanctuaries along the Massachusetts coastal region. Here is just a sampling of some recently spotted migrants, and it’s only May 4th. Lots more to come!

Biggety Brant ~ This Brant Goose appeared to be the bossy boots of his gaggle, chiding, nipping, and vocally encouraging the group along. A large of flock of approximately 40 Brants was recently reported by readers Debbie and Dan, seen at Back Beach in Rockport. The Brants are heading to the wet, coastal tundra of the high Arctic. No other species of goose travels as far north or migrates as great a distance as do Brants.

W is for Wading Willet. A PAIR were well hidden in the marshy grass! Both the flesh and the eggs of Willets are considered tasty. They were nearly hunted to extinction, saved only by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Willets breeding in Massachusetts is nothing short of a miracle. Notice how closely they resemble Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs; all three belong to the Genus Tringa.

Y is for Yawping Yellowlegs. Both Greater and Lesser Yellow are seen in Massachusetts marshes at this time of year. Greater Yellowlegs have a loud, distinct call, which they utilize often. The Greater Yellowlegs are feeding on tiny crustaceans, killfish, and minnows to fortify for the journey to the boggy marshes of Canadian and Alaskan coniferous forests.

Piping Plover Piping ~ We should be proud that our state of Massachusetts has the greatest record of Piping Plover recovery. I recently saw a bar graph at a lecture presentation, given by Dave Rimmer at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, which illustrated that the recovery rate has flatlined in Canada and New Jersey, and diminished in the Great Lakes region.

T is for Tree Swallow Tango ~ Males arrive on the scene prior to the females. The courtship ritual involves the gents showing the ladies possible nesting sites.

Tree Swallow preparing for takeoff.

 

REMINDER: DEBORAH CRAMER TONIGHT AT THE SAWYER FREE LIBRARY!

Don’t miss Deborah Cramer tonight at the Sawyer Free at 7pm. Her book is beautiful, and beautifully written. Deborah’s photos accompanying the presentation create an added depth of understanding to the plight of this most vulnerable of species.

BIRDS OF MAY: NEW DOCUMENTARY ABOUT THE RED KNOT

Audubon Exclusive through May 7th: Watch ‘Birds of May,’ a New Documentary About Red Knots

The film explores the growing debate over the environmental impact of oyster farms in Delaware Bay, an important stopover site for the threatened shorebirds.

Documentary filmmaker Jared Flesher, “The Red Knot has been on my list since the very beginning,” he says. “As a species, it has all the elements of a dramatic story.” The bird is charismatic and attractive, particularly in its red-breasted summer plumage, and it makes one of the longest annual migrations on Earth, flying up to 9,000 miles each way from the southern tip of South America to the northernmost reaches of the Arctic where the species nests. Every May, as Red Knots make their long trek north, they pause at Delaware Bay in southern New Jersey to refuel, gobbling down the fat-rich horseshoe crab eggs that coat the shore.

At least, that’s what’s supposed to happen. Red Knots already have to overcome numerous challenges on such a long migration, but today they also face new threats. Climate change puts the species’ Arctic nesting sites at risk, and there’s trouble with their main food source at Delaware Bay, where in the early 2000s horseshoe crab over harvesting led to a Red Knot population crash. Since then, the subspecies that migrates through Delaware Bay has been listed under the Endangered Species Act, and the crab harvest has been limited. Red Knots seem to be slowly rebounding, but conservationists are worried that the population is still fragile.

As a storyteller, a species disappearing from earth forever—that’s just about the most dramatic hook there is,” Flesher says. And as he explores in Birds of May, which was partly funded by the Washington Crossing Audubon Society, a new threat may be lurking for the far-flying birds at their New Jersey stopover site.”

See the trailer below and watch the film exclusively at Audubon here only through May 7th.

Don’t miss Deborah Cramer speaking about the making of her book about the Red Knots “The Narrow Edge,” at the Sawyer Free Library on Thursday evening at 7pm.

On the sandy beaches of the Delaware Bay, in New Jersey, a visitor arrives each May from the southernmost tip of South America. Name: Calidris canutus rufa. The rufa red knot.

What makes the red knot remarkable is its epic journey: 19,000 miles per year, from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic Circle and back again, one of the longest migrations in the animal kingdom.

The Delaware Bay serves as the most important stepping stone during the red knot’s long spring migration. Famished knots, having flown without rest for as many as seven days straight, arrive on the bay having lost half their body weight. For two crucial weeks, the birds gorge on the eggs of horseshoe crabs. Red knots that gain enough weight will survive the final leg of their journey to the Arctic. Others perish.

In 2015, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service listed the rufa red knot as a federally threatened species—it faces threats throughout the Western Hemisphere, from habitat loss in South America to the impacts of climate change in the Arctic. The calamitous overharvest of horseshoe crabs on the Delaware Bay last decade was another major driver of the red knot’s decline—when the starving birds arrived, there weren’t enough eggs waiting for them.

Most recently, in 2016, state and federal regulators approved a plan to permit a 1,400 percent increase in oyster farming on the Delaware Bay. The oyster farms operate on the same tidal flats used by hungry red knots at low tide.

Birds of May, filmed in May 2016 on the beaches of the Delaware Bay, is filmmaker Jared Flesher’s ode to the natural spectacle of the red knot’s annual visit. It’s also an investigation of potential new threats to red knot survival. Not everyone is sure that expanded oyster farming and red knots can happily coexist. Against the scenic backdrop of the bay, Flesher interviews both oyster farmers and the shorebird biologists who fear that an oyster farming boom here could push the rufa red knot closer to extinction.

Read more about filmmaker Jared Flesher here:

A tiny shorebird inspires N.J. filmmaker and a flock of poets

MARSH SUNRISE

Yellow Legs feeding at daybreak in the marsh.

I am not sure if this is a Greater or Lesser Yellow Legs. It was too dark to make an id before flying off to join several more feeding at low tide in the marsh.

Look for both Greater and Lesser Yellow Legs along the shoreline–they are seen in Massachusetts during spring and fall migrations. Yellow Legs are traveling to bogs and marshes of the boreal forest region of Canada and Alaska where they breed and nest for the summer.

PIPING PLOVERS HAVE RETURNED TO CAPE ANN BEACHES!

Male Piping Plover

The sweetest and tiniest of shorebirds has been spotted at several of our local beaches, including Wingaersheek and Good Harbor Beach. They have also been seen at Plum Island, as well as other Massachusetts barrier beaches, for several weeks. The Plovers have traveled many thousands of miles to reach our shores and are both weary from traveling and eager to establish nesting sites.

What can you do to help the Piping Plovers? Here are four simple things we can all do to protect the Plovers.

  1. Don’t leave behind or bury trash or food on the beach. All garbage attracts predators such as crows, seagulls, foxes, and coyotes, and all four of these creatures EAT plover eggs and chicks.
  2. Do not linger near the Piping Plovers or their nests. Activity around the Plovers also attracts gulls and crows.
  3. Respect the fenced off areas that are created to protect the Plovers.
  4. If pets are permitted, keep dogs leashed.

 

The last is the most difficult for folks to understand. Dogs threaten Piping Plovers in many ways and at every stage of their life cycle during breeding season, even the most adorable and well-behaved of pooches.

Dogs love to chase Piping Plovers (and other shorebirds) at the water’s edge. After traveling all those thousand of miles, the birds need sustenance. They are at the shoreline to feed to regain their strength.

Dogs love to chase piping Plovers at the wrack line. Here the birds are establishing where to nest. Plovers are skittish at this stage of breeding and will depart the area when disturbed.

Dogs love to chase Piping Plover chicks, which not only terrifies the adult Plovers and distracts them from minding the babies, but the chicks are easily squished by a dog on the run.

Please keep dogs leashed when at the beach. Thank you!

Female Piping Plover

*   *   *

Dave Rimmer, Greenbelt’s director of land stewardship, is giving a lecture about the Piping Plovers at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on Thursday, April 27th, from 2:00 to 4pm. Preregister by email at: Andrew@ecga.org.

 

WINGED CREATURE NEWS AND QUESTIONS SUBMITTED BY READERS

We love hearing from our readers. Please feel free to ask questions about, and to share your photos of, Cape Ann’s beautiful wild creatures. GMG FOB Susan Larosa shared the extraordinary news that a Vermillion Flycatcher was spotted in Maine, the first recorded sighting EVER. Although they are known to wander, these birds are native to the southwestern region of the United States, and southward. Click on this link to continue reading the full story: The National Audubon Society says a web camera has captured the first confirmed sighting in Maine of a colorful species of bird typically seen in the southwestern part of the country.

Range map of the Vermillion Flycatcher–no where near New England!

Facebook Friend Linda shared the next two photos, wondering what bird? Linda, I think the photos are of the Greater Yellow Legs. Where was the photo taken (general area, you don’t have to be super specific) and approximately how big do you think it was, compared to other birds, for example. Greater and Lesser Yellow Legs are often confused. I have seen far more Lesser than Greater Yellow Legs on Cape Ann but the bill seems extra long, which would indicate a Greater Yellow Legs.

Range Map of Greater Yellow Legs showing it is a passing migrant through our region

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