Friday, May 30, 2014

Piping Plover Up Close

During my visit to Silver Sands State Park yesterday, I took a bit of a detour to check on a pair of Piping Plovers that have set up a nest on the beach just east of the park. I've never walked out of the park's boundaries in this direction before, and the shoreline's definitely beautiful. I can see why people would want to have houses here:

The Piping Plovers (perhaps the same pair I saw at Silver Sands a few weeks ago?) were nicely settled on their sandy nest essentially in someone's back yard. The nest is surrounded by protective fencing that the plovers can wander freely through but which keeps predators and people away. (I don't have any pictures of the nest because I kept my distance.) The two plovers took turns incubating the eggs while the other bird went foraging. It was a little strange to see the plovers running past furniture as they hunted around their home:

After I'd finished watching the nest, as I was heading back along the shoreline, the male Piping Plover flew down to the water's edge and landed right in front of me to hunt. I avoid approaching these birds so as not to disturb them (especially now that they've got a nest), but if they come to me, then OK!

I settled down to hang out with this guy as he darted around, snatching up food every few steps:

Apparently there are tasty creatures hiding in the sand:

He really does have a handsome outfit; classy, even:

The hunting must've been good at this patch of beach, because he wandered around me but stayed close:

Open plover mouth!

I know, this is a lot of pictures, but who knows when I'll next get the chance to see these creatures so close:

Best of luck with your hunting, little guy, and take good care of your family. Here's hoping there'll be tiny plover chicks on this beach before too long!

A few flocks of Semipalmated Sandpipers were also foraging along the water's edge:

And the Horseshoe Crabs are appearing on the beach again for this year's breeding season. I saw several of these creatures half-buried in the sand (waiting for the approaching high tide, I assume). This individual was crawling around in the shallow water with part of its sand-burrow still on its head:

You never know what will show up at the shore!


  1. The bird books should throw out all their photos & use yours instead! Incredible details in these shots.