Photographing her son Surfing at Good Harbor Beach
Collecting sea glass at Pavilion Beach
Bicycling from Salem to have lunch at Sugar Magnolias
Not shy in the least, the four Good Harbor Beach Piping Plovers spent the early part of the morning running and feeding along the shoreline, bathing in the tidal flats, and ferociously defending their territory against other avian intruders. A jogger ran past the one preening at the water’s edge–he was quite close–but that did not seem to alarm the Plover. They are diminutive little creatures, about six to seven inches in length, and show mostly white feathers when flying overhead.
Breakfast – Piping Plovers eat insects and small invertebrates
One Piping Plover seemed to be testing different sites to nest, momentarily hunkering down, then leaving the spot, and then returning a few moments later to vigorously dig a deeper depression in the sand, before then flying away.
Leaving the possible nesting site
Returning to the depression
The roped off area appears to be a terrific solution in helping to protect the possible nesting sites. Visitors to Good Harbor Beach this morning were very mindful about respecting the boundary. And there was not a single dog in sight, off leash or otherwise. The Plovers flew in and out of the restricted area, as did Killdeers and several other species of shore birds.
For Immediate Release from Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken
Public Works in conjunction with our local Conservation Commission, MA Dept of Wildlife and Fisheries and Mass Audubon have been following the activities of Piping Plovers on Good Harbor Beach for the past 4 weeks. The birds have shown signs of nesting activities in this area.
On a recommendation of the state we have fenced off an area approximately 200 feet by 200 feet – southwest of board walk number 3. This area starts at the base of the dunes and extends to the high tide rack or water line. This area is to be off llimits to all humans as well as any domestic pets. These birds are listed under the State and Federal Endangered Species Acts and are granted special protection.
We will continue to work with all agencies to provide the support they need to let nature take its course. We ask for the support of the general public to adhere to the regulations set forth. Any questions should be directed to the Department of Recreation and Conservation (DCR) and/or Mass Audubon.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation.
* * *
A little background information from Dave Rimmer, Director of Land Stewardship Greenbelt
Yet another bird that was nearly hunted to extinction for its beautiful feathers, as of 2012 when the most recent study was concluded, there were only 3,600 breeding Piping Plovers along the Atlantic Coast.
Piping Plover’s are a softy colored, mostly tan and white, pint-sized shorebird and like their nests and eggs, exquisitely camouflage with colors of sand and pebbles. This also makes them highly vulnerable to disturbances by humans; even if when people are trying to avoid their nesting sites, it is very easy to unwittingly crush eggs and chicks.
Piping Plovers have been observed on Good Harbor Beach this spring and could quite possibly nest here. The Gloucester DPW, working in conjunction with the Conservation Commission, MA Department of Wildlife, and Mass Audubon have cordoned off a roughly 200 feet by 200 feet area between the GHB bridge and boardwalk number three (the large rock that was exposed several storms ago lies within the area).
This area of the beach may be closed off for as long as eight weeks, possibly longer. If the nest is disturbed, the Piping Plovers will abandon the first and create a new nest, which will extend the time of beach closure.
It is to everyone’s benefit, plover and people alike, to heed the signs and to please keep dogs on leash at all times.
Are dogs allowed on the beach at this time of year?
You can see from the photos of different Piping Plover nests from several regions of the country how perfectly the pebble-lined nests and babies meld with their surroundings–a good thing to keep them safe from predators, but not such a good plan for nests in well-trafficked areas.
The male selects the nesting site, defending it from other males. He scrapes a nest in the sand and both the male and female toss stones and bits of shell into the depression. Both the male and female incubate the eggs. It takes about 25 days to incubate the eggs and another three to four weeks for the chicks to fledge.
Like the Killdeer, Piping Plovers cleverly display a broken wing, a trick designed to distract predators from their nests and babies. Both Killdeers and Piping Plovers are in the same family, Charadriidae. The Piping Plover’s scientific name, Charadrius melodus, and common name, comes from its lovely melodic piping bird song.
ALL IMAGES EXCEPT THE LAST TWO, COURTESY GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH
My first post to GMG had me wondering what on earth I could possibly contribute to an already amazingly talented group of contributors. My daughter Abbey made it pretty simple for me by saying just start with what you know…photography! I picked up a camera about 7 years ago after my kids went to college thinking it would be something to pass the time and an outlet for my creativity, but as it turns out, the camera is evil! It makes you do evil things! It makes you learn stuff about what you are photographing. Like when the sun rises and sets (seriously…I had no idea that the best part of sunrise was actually before the sun rose!) So since this is a new beginning for me, and spring is in the air I thought I’d start this day off with a sunrise! You can visit lots of areas and see many sunrises, but I honestly can say that Cape Ann has THE MOST spectacular sunrises and sunsets. No…I’m not a morning person, in fact, I love sleep, but remember I told you the camera is evil? It makes you do evil things?? Well it makes you get up early too! So here you go….pick a day….get up early… bring your camera or just bring a blanket and a cup of coffee and treat yourself with the peacefulness and beauty of the early morning! My favorite place to go is Good Harbor Beach and on any given day there are a half dozen cars parked there and a handful of people on the beach walking and waiting. This morning’s sunrise was hindered by the clouds, so I’m sharing one of my favorites from GHB. I’d love to hear where everyone’s favorite places for sunrises are (on or off Cape Ann)!
(Nikon D610, 1/15 sec, F8, ISO 200 – shot in Raw with Lightroom edits)
Keith from Twin Lights Glassing Company
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon. – Edward Lear
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While freezing, it was too pretty to not stop at Good Harbor Beach last night to snap this photo. There was something about the juxtaposition of the snow and the sand at sunset that made us sit for a longer while than planned.
I’d rather it be July, but pretty nonetheless.
Phil checks on the Good Harbor Beach Footbridge that he re-built back in 2013. See photos below of today and Phil inspecting his work back in 2013.
Another batch of photos from yesterday’s mesmerizing after storm wave-watching.
Thacher Island from the Back Shore High Tide
Towering waves and beautiful spindrifts all along the back shore today.
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