Monday, March 29, 2010
Bahamas Plover in Cape Cod!
The third Bahamas plover re-sighted in the US this spring was seen on Bank Street Beach, Harwich, MA by Susie Gallagher, Town of Dennis plover monitor with MassAudubon for three seasons, and her colleague Ed Nash. [coordinates: N 41.663379° W 070.072140°] The bird was spotted on Saturday, March 27, at 1645. The bird was marked with a black flag on the upper left leg, white band lower left leg; upper right leg unbanded; lower right leg dark blue over orange bands.
This piper was captured, banded and released on South Beach, New Providence, The Bahamas on January 17, 2010. [coordinates: N 25.00693; W 077.33325] The bird was in the first group of birds caught in the Environment Canada Piping Plover Project. It is ~1225 miles from the banding site to the re-sight location.
The top picture above was taken on the Pea Island NWR beachfront just south of Oregon Inlet on December 17, 2005. I spent that winter following Piping Plovers in a Virginia Tech project undertaken by the lab of Dr. Jim Fraser. This is among my favorite images. And it is, in large part, responsible for our ability to capture as many plovers as we did in The Bahamas last winter. The bird with the piper is, of course, a Black-bellied Plover. Pipers always seem to feel safe from outside threats when in the company of the wary "mama" plover. Thus, I had David Rhodes, a noted shorebird carver and conservationist from New Jersey, carve a black-belly for our use this winter. The decoy worked like magic; not only were pipers attracted to the decoy, live black bellies fell in love with her.
UPDATE: Thanks to Ellen Jedrey of MassAudubon for supplying the bottom two photos above, taken by Susie and Ed of the Harwich/Bahamas plover.