Volunteers were on high alert this season, watching vigilantly over the three 2018 Piping Plover nests, after a rather disappointing end to last summer. Although predation is natural, especially when subsidized predators such as ring-billed gulls are attracted to busy beaches, it is still difficult to watch when dealing with an endangered (and adorable) species. Thanks to increased public awareness and attentive monitoring of the nesting site, a total of nine Piping Plover chicks successfully fledged by the end of the 2018 season.
While the season started off with a few bumps with the mysterious disappearance of three newly hatched chicks from Petey and Tweety’s brood, the remainder of the summer proceeded without a hitch. In its eleventh year, the Piping Plover Recovery Program at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park has added 64 chicks to a population that once reached a record low of 16 pairs in the mid-1980’s.
Thanks to a new partnership with Bird Studies Canada, we are now able to better track our plovers after they leave the park and fly to their wintering grounds. Of the nine fledged chicks, six have already been identified by avid birders during their migration! All four of Salt and Pepa’s chicks (nest #2) have been accounted for –one of which was recently spotted in Duval County, Florida. What more, two of Nancy and Worsley’s chicks (nest #3) were found TOGETHER in Pinellas County Florida. While we do not know if the siblings traveled together, they nonetheless found their way to the same beach over 1,800 kilometers away from their original natal site in Wasaga Beach.
If you are traveling to Florida this winter, keep your eyes open as you just may see one of our beloved Wasaga Beach alumni! You can also check on the progress of our Plovers this winter by following the excellent posts on the Facebook group “Piping Plover Conservation in Ontario”
Thanks to the many volunteers who helped make 2018 another successful year for Piping Plovers at Wasaga Beach.