Thursday afternoon's visit to Silver Sands State Park featured a special sight indeed. When I checked on the Piping Plover pair and their nest just east of the park, I was excited to see that their eggs have successfully hatched! So along with the two adults, there were four tiny baby plovers running around on the beach! Here's Dad, looking handsome as usual, with one of the new arrivals in the foreground:
I loooooove these little guys! It was such a treat to watch them scuttle around across the sand:
Hello baby plover, with your little cotton-ball body and tooth-pick legs:
Adorable as these guys are from the front, I think they might be even cuter from behind! Look at that little tail!
Plover chicks are precocial -- isn't that just the coolest word? -- which means that (like baby chickens, ducks, geese, etc., but unlike, say, robins) they're up walking and foraging for themselves almost as soon as they hatch. (I also just love how much "precocial" sounds like "precocious," which is absolutely a fitting description for these little guys.) These four babies were certainly handling themselves well, motoring around from spot to spot:
And snatching up food from the sand, just like Mom and Dad:
But even though these chicks were running around and feeding themselves, they still ran back to Mom every few minutes for some cuddle time:
Oof, four babies is a lot to fit under you!
There we go, all tucked in (more or less):
I read recently that only about 50 Piping Plover pairs are currently nesting in all of Connecticut (roughly the same number as in recent years). I'm so happy this plover family has made it to the hatching stage, and I just hope all four of these chicks grow up safely. Stay close to your parents, guys, and hopefully you'll be fine!
Here are a few other sights from my visit to the beach. The Killdeer pair is still tending eggs, but these babies should also be along soon:
A Fish Crow sat long enough for a quick portrait:
And some Glossy Ibises looked spectacularly rusty in the very last light from the setting sun:
What a great beach day!