Sauble Beach Plover Found Wintering in Florida!

The Sauble Beach Piping Plover chick that wintered in Florida is seen foraging with its sibling on July 22, 2015 when they were a month old. Photo credit: Cheryl Ferguson
The Sauble Beach Piping Plover chick that wintered in Florida is seen foraging with its sibling on July 22, 2015 when they were a month old. Photo credit: Cheryl Ferguson

Great news from Stewardship Grey Bruce!
A Piping Plover chick hatched at Sauble Beach in 2015 successfully spent its first non-breeding season in Levy County, Florida (Gulf side, northern part of the peninsula–west of Gainesville for curious snow-birders).
This is known from active groups in Florida and the Caribbean, monitoring the birds’ presence on their wintering grounds, just as there are volunteer monitors on the shores of Sauble Beach each summer. Its unique identification bands enable monitors to know that this was the chick that hatched on Father’s Day, June 21, 2015 and was last seen at Sauble Beach on August 3.
Stewardship Grey Bruce’s Piping Plover Committee member Cheryl Ferguson has been monitoring the winter activities of  Piping Plovers through social media. This information was shared with her by Jordan Rutter from the Great Lakes Piping Plover Recovery Effort based in Michigan. None of the other 2015 Sauble Beach or 2014 Port Elgin chicks have been reported this year. Ms. Rutter reminds us that this “does not indicate anything about their status. Finding a Great Lakes Piping Plover on the wintering grounds is like finding a needle in a haystack sometimes.”
The birds are banded as part of the recovery program led in Ontario by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. A significant effort is made to track their migration and better understand their life cycle and behaviours. From this learning, informed conservation measures can be made to protect sensitive nesting and wintering areas and help return their population to sustainable levels.
Volunteer Piping Plover monitors are being sought for the 2016 season. With this in mind, orientation & training sessions are being held at the Sauble Beach Community Centre: Thursday April 28 at 2 p.m.; Tuesday May 31, at 7 p.m.
A follow-up session, the first of a 7-part Beach Talks series will be held on Saturday June 11  from 9:30 to 11 a.m. and will feature Stew Nutt, who coordinated the Volunteer program from 2007 to 2010 and remains engaged with the species’ recovery. We’ll have more news about our program of six additional 2016 Beach Talks in support of lifelong learning in coming weeks. The public is invited to access more information, or sign up for further communication, or volunteer by going to www.ploverlovers.com.

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