Upon arrival at their breeding grounds Piping Plovers establish a territory which encompasses a stretch of shoreline for feeding and higher dry ground for nesting.
A male entering an other's territory may provoke a threat display: lowering the head and fanning and puffing the feathers. This may last for a many minutes. Sometimes they engage in running in parallel along a disputed boundary.
I am guessing this is a dispute between two males with a female looking on
At a distance a couple of downy chicks were running about without any adults close by.
On the same beach in back of the dunes a Purple Martin colony with compartmentalized wooden houses and gourds had been set up. They had just begun building their nests and laying eggs. No young had yet been hatched. Both males and females may claim many compartments and defend them against competitors but relinquish most of them once they have settled on one for building their nest, keeping some as spare rooms. Since not all compartments in a house may be occupied, the male of a nesting pair often sleeps in an adjoining one.
Purple Martins are fierce defenders of their nests. They peck, bite and claw at any intruder who tries to enter. Males fight off other males and females other females. Violent battles may ensue if a competitor manages to get inside. The nest openings are crescent-shaped to keep out starlings who can't pass because of their larger sternums.
On any suitable platform along the coast Osprey nests are ubiquitous and man-made detritus is also ubiquitous, below an iconic sign of our human presence, the plastic trash bag.
Plastic waste such as bags, balloons, and other junk are often mistaken for food and fed to the chicks causing them to starve and die. It reminds us to be mindful of what we discard and pick up such items on the beach when we see them.
I have material for one more post on Cape May: shorebirds. Until then, happy birding!