DSC_5009In February, Ken started to ask for help in getting stewards on the Bethune Beach section of New Smyrna Beach to monitor the nests of Wilson’s Plovers he expected to see there this year.  They started nesting there last year, I believe one or two nests, and some of the residents were pretty callous about where they walked and where they let their dogs illegally run off leash.

I put out a call for volunteers and got one response.  The FWC sponsored a training session in March and the birds started nesting in greater numbers than we could imagine.  The Volusia Turtle Patrol was asked to help identify the locations of nests and they found one.  They reported it and I believe Jennifer from Volusia Environmental staked it out.  On May 5, I went out to see what was going on and found a new nest.  I emailed Jennifer and she came out again.  The Turtle Patrol found another nest which Jennifer staked out and the following day, a sea turtle set up shop in the same area.

The next day I found another nest and a couple of days later another.  As of today, there are six active nests within a half mile stretch of beach.  in addition, today, I also saw three more pairs of WIPL’s farther south, almost to Bethune Beach Park, not associated with nests but obviously looking in the direction of the dunes.  But they would not go there while I was watching.  Must have seems sinister with my binoculars and camera. I believe there are more nests to be discovered.

Most importantly though, the site labelled WIPL1 had a chick in it today.  Since the area was surveyed by Dick and Gail yesterday and they did not report a chick, I can only believe it hatched later yesterday or early today. Remember that the WIPL chicks are born precocious.  So within hours of hatching, they can be seen walking around the nest area.

It would really be helpful if we could have more volunteers to discover the new nests and aloud interact with the public about the new event. I have to say that all the folks I have interacted with in the last couple of weeks were happy to see this happen.  No bad experiences like Ken last year.

Don

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