Sharing with you things that are on my mind...Maybe yours too. Come back to Wrights Lane for a visit anytime!

04 August, 2014

TOURIST ATTRACTION: PLOVERS CAME A PIPING TO PORT ELGIN BEACH

Piping Plover: A small pale shorebird of open sandy beaches and alkali flats, the Piping Plover is found along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, as well as inland in the northern Great Plains. Because of disturbance by people, all populations are considered endangered or threatened. Piping plovers migrate north in the summer and winter to the south on the Gulf of Mexico, the southern Atlantic coast of the United States and the Caribbean.

Since early June (2014), a rare occurrence has taken place at Port Elgin beach on Lake Huron.  A pair of endangered Piping Plovers decided to make their nest and raise their young.  Four eggs were laid in the warm sand and all four hatched.  The birds are protected under the Endangered Species Act of 2007, both provincially and nationally.  

There are three locations where piping plovers nest in North America: the shorelines of the Great Lakes, the shores of rivers and lakes in the Northern Great Plains, and along the Atlantic Coast. Their nesting range has become smaller over the years, especially in the Great Lakes area.  Almost immediately after the arrival of the feathered visitors in May, the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and the Town of Saugeen Shores took steps to ensure the safety of the nest.  A large section of the public beach was cordoned off and a cage constructed over the nest to protect it from predators.
Most recent photos taken the last week of July ....
The parents only recently left the beach, having stayed with their brood far longer than expected and their young also stayed much longer than is normal.  All four siblings also stayed together at the beach site, which again is somewhat rare according to experts.  It would appear that the family chose Port Elgin and decided to stay given the safety that was provided.

According to Stuart Nutt, who has tracked the Piping Plovers for a number of years, a Merlin Hawk was recently seen in the area and, therefore, he said he expected that it would not be long before the Plovers left to head south for the winter.  Saugeen Shores CAO, Larry Allison, confirmed on Sunday (Aug. 3/14) that the Piping Plovers had in fact left the beach area.

It was amazing how the town, the region and visitors adopted the family of Piping Plovers.  Signs were posted and tape barriers erected and everyone respected them.  Photographers came from far and wide to take photos of the family and children watched enthralled with the young feathered family.

The Town of Saugeen Shores went above and beyond to protect and foster the young endangered hatchlings who also quickly became a major attraction for visitors. According to MNR experts, it is anticipated that should the family of Plovers reach their southern winter destination and return to Canada next spring, it is most likely they will return to their original nesting site on the Port Elgin beach.

Let`s hope so...Saugeen Shores Board of Trade is banking on hosting this new tourist attraction once again next year...And so are we bird lovers.

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