It was the best day of summer: blue skies with wispy white clouds, a broad expanse of sand with the tide out, a breeze to take the edge of the heat and flocks of small shore birds running along the tidal shore, flying up, settling down again to extract morsels from the wet sand.
After a 2.5 hours drive I had arrived at the Sandy Point parking lot on Plum Island at about 7 AM, a couple of hours before the Sunday crowds. Colored tape had been put up to keep people off the sandy center of the peninsula to protect nesting birds and chicks. At some distance I saw a couple of chicks running around in the sand, whereas the juveniles and adults were out along the shore line.
Piping Plover chicks
The juveniles were feeding along the water line along with the adults.
Juvenile Piping Plovers
A juvenile stretching its wings
Adult Piping Plovers
Piping Plovers as a species are a globally threatened. The birds pick bare or sparsely vegetated sand for their nest sites, exposing them to all kinds of human beach activity. They have largely disappeared from their former breeding grounds on the Great Lakes. To protect them, all beaches in the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge are closed throughout the breeding season. The tip of Plum Island is not part of the refuge however and the beach is open, accessible by boat and by car through the refuge. The sandy center of that spit of land, as I mentioned above, has been cordoned off though.
Getting the right camera setting was very difficult. The bright light and glare made the screen black and the histogram, just barely visible, is of no great help with the stark contrast of the harsh morning sun. I have hesitated for a long time because of the expense but after this trip I determined I just have to spend the money on a Hoodman Loupe that would allow me to adjust the settings without guessing.
Thanks for stopping by. Happy Birding!