The 2014 Wasaga Beach Provincial Park (WBPP) Piping Plover Program was the most successful year yet, resulting in the highest fledgling rate to date. Throughout the field season, a total of twelve adult Piping Plovers were identified on the shores of Wasaga Beach, with three confirmed nests at Beach Area One. This season has had the highest rate of survival with each nest having a 75% success rate, with three out of four chicks fledging from each nest.
A first ever at WBPP, the east and the west nests began to hatch on the same day, June 15th, and the third nest nicknamed ‘comfort nest’ began to hatch one week later. Survival is not always guaranteed, one chick was lost from each nest, likely due to predation. In spite of this, there was considerably less predation and loss compared with previous years. By the first week of August, all nine surviving fledglings were ready for the long migration down to the Atlantic coast of Florida. With their departure, the grand total of fledglings has surged to 31 individuals since these endangered shorebirds first nested at WBPP in 2008.
The successful fledge of nine Piping Plover chicks would not be possible without the dedicated team of enthusiastic Piping Plover Guardians. 45 volunteers contributed 1,589 hours to monitor the endangered shorebirds over the course of ten weeks. The program also greatly depends on the collaboration from every department within Wasaga Beach Provincial Park, as well as Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry staff. Thank you to the TD Friends of the Environment for its generous contribution to the Piping Plover Program. Combined with the tireless effort from the guardians, staff and supporters, the Piping Plover shorebird recovery is a hopeful one.
Plover enthusiasts may be interested in the Plover t-shirts “It Takes A Village to Raise a Plover” now being carried in the Nancy Island Tresure Chest gift store. Nancy Island is open weekends until Thanksgiving.