The Coastal Waterbird Season: The Early Days

PIPL_Mark Faherty

“We’re back!” (photo by Mark Faherty)

The piping plovers, terns and oystercatchers returning to the beaches that Wellfleet Bay monitors have gotten down to the business of nesting—and we’ll  keep you posted on how it’s going. But as veteran nest watchers will tell you, a season has its highs and lows—sometimes many lows. A nest may get washed over, crows may snatch eggs(as they already have) and red foxes, as many Cape Codders know, are everywhere.

For this initial post on the start of the season last month, we want to keep it light and hopeful and focus on a time when the birds were just returning and anything seemed possible.

We’ve had a few exciting things occur in the past few weeks:


South Sunken Meadow bird was banded on wintering grounds in Georgia (T. Faughnan)

Not one, but two banded birds showed up on our beaches—one at Corn Hill, the other at South Sunken Meadow. Both birds, we discovered, were banded in separate studies. And what we’ve learned from these birds, so far, is that plovers don’t necessarily stay at beaches where we first see them. The South Sunken Meadow bird headed over to Crosby Beach in Brewster and then returned; the Corn Hill bird stayed for awhile, then just up and left, with no further reports. But there may be news on him yet!

The other exciting development is that oystercatchers nested on Lieutenant Island. Thanks to coastal waterbird team member Keenan Yakola for these great shots:

AMOY Nest Lt Is_Keenan Yacola AMOY on Lt Is._Keenan Yacola





And we leave you with news of the special help we’ve received from some imaginative and motivated Truro first graders who created special signs for our symbolic fencing at Corn Hill Beach. If these kids are any indication, future nesting shorebirds will have plenty of great advocates!

Truro KidsPIPL sign

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