Have you seen me? I’m Piping Plover ‘E4’!

Have you seen me? I’m Piping Plover ‘E4’!

piping plovere E4
Seen on Eleuthera, The Bahamas by CWF-NJ biologists: 2014 White Point youngster, grey “E4”

Hi – I’m ‘E4’!
I’m a Piping Plover, an endangered species.

(note to readers, we’ve taken the liberty of giving Gry E4 a voice to share his story)

I was born at White Point Beach in spring of 2014. I stayed there with my siblings ‘ET’, ‘E2’, ‘EL’ and my Dad ‘EP’ with my Mom (not banded) until later in July when we began our migration south for the winter. With the help of guests at White Point, volunteers with Bird Studies Canada and the gang from Environment Canada we received ‘bands’ with identifiers so that we could be tracked. These little bands are a part of a larger program that helps folks like you, to learn more about where we go and what we do when we leave Nova Scotia.

Piping Plover E2
2014 fledgling, grey E2, was spotted again at Cayo Coco, Cuba on 29 March – this time with unbanded buddy (photo Céline Maurice c/o Francois Shaffer). This is grey E2’s third sighting at Cayo Coco since Arturo Kirkconnel’s first spot on 17 Nov 2014.

We fly internationally, crossing borders regularly without passports. After enjoying my summer at White Point, when I was about 3 months old, my family and I took off, heading south for our wintering grounds. One of my siblings, ‘E2’ headed over to Cuba and was spotted several times by Arturo Kirkconnell (a leading birding expert in Cuba who has published Guide books!). Here’s a picture of him too while in Cuba with a friend.

You can only imagine how shocked the gang at White Point were when they found out that I had been seen, and photographed on Eleuthera, in the Bahamas! Indeed thanks to Todd Pover and Stephanie Egger of Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, who were in the Bahamas doing monitoring found me and shared this great story about me and a few others from neighbouring beaches.

Eleuthra, The Bahamas is about 2300 miles from White Point, Nova Scotia.
I know, you are thinking OMG what an amazing feat … especially when you consider, I did this as just a juvenile little fella not yet reaching my full adult size of weighing less than 6 toonies and under 15cms in length.

Well the gang here at White Point were certainly surprised and delighted to learn of my whereabouts and have now begun the search for me, and my family of 2014.

I’m very excited to be inspiring a weekend in honour of my kind too.
Because of me, Todd Pover – who saw me and my friends in The Bahamas – is coming to my birth-beach,  White Point Beach Resort in May to share my story and learn about our nesting grounds in Nova Scotia. He’s the special guest speaker for the International Piping Plover Weekend that the team at White Point along with Bird Studies Canada has created for May 2 and 3, 2015.

On Saturday May 2, Todd and Wendy – the White Pointer who has been a huge fan of ours – will be hosting a FREE session, 3 – 4:30pm
Connecting White Point, NS to Eleuthera, The Bahamas: the voyage of E4 (ME!)
Todd has pictures and a video about seeing me and my friends in The Bahamas and has many years experience in tracking and monitoring Piping Plovers. And then, folks will head out on a guided tour down along White Point Beach to sight nesting grounds (hopefully!)

PloverDayMay3NEWOn Sunday May 3, it’s a BIG day… International Piping Plover Day: Banding together to celebrate partnerships
10am – 4:30pm
Todd Pover will be joined by the gang from White Point, Jen Rock from the Environment Canada Team who have been key in the banding program, Steven Price the President of Bird Studies Canada and Sue Abbott, their NS Project Coordinator. Volunteers, representatives from various organizations, agencies and interested folks are invited to attend and share their knowledge, experiences, and expand their partnerships as we celebrate protection and monitoring successes to date.
See ALL the details here on this poster, and be sure to share it with your colleagues
Registration fee: FREE
RSVP as soon as possible to let us know to expect you though to [email protected] or call 1.800.565.5068 ext 1.

Now do you see why it is SSSSOOOO important that I be found!
It would be phenomenal to be able to announce where I am, and even one or all of my siblings and Dad … when everyone is at White Point on May 2 & 3!
Being able to confirm that as an endangered species, born in 2014 in Nova Scotia, travelling to and wintering in The Bahamas and returning back to breeding grounds in Nova Scotia and surrounding area would be great news.

As you head out to the beaches this spring, please look for me but keep your distance! When on the beach, help give me and my friends a fighting chance:
– Walk on wet sand;
– Respect the signage and protected, roped off areas if present;
– Keep your pets on a leash;
– Leave no garbage behind and remove any you find; and
– Keep you vehicle off the beaches.

The gang here at White Point have a great exhibit about us on the ground level of the Main Lodge. It’s on loan from Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site of Canada. They look after Keji Seaside just down the road from White Point, 4 of us have already been spotted over there this year!

You should know that we’ve enjoyed staying at White Point in the past. Since 2012, they’ve hosted a pair of Piping Plovers each year with 11 chicks fledged successfully. With the banding of 5 of us in 2014, our story and adventures become so much easier to follow!

IF you see me (or any of us), be sure to let the folks at White Point and more importantly at Bird Studies Canada know so they can record my movement.
You can post your information at the Piping Plover Conservation Nova Scotia and contact:
Sue Abbott, Bird Studies Canada-NS Piping Plover Conservation Program
Phone:  902-222-2880
Email: [email protected]

And on that note, get out and enjoy these beautiful spring days … here are a few more pics, and an older but still great video about Piping Plovers from Canadian Wildlife Services.
What did our year look like in 2014 as a population in Nova Scotia? Here’s a summary that was shared by Bird Studies Canada at the end of the nesting season in August 2014:
Please note, our White Point Beach family was very successful – 4 hatched and fledged successfully, better than the 1.65 target!

In southern NS including Kejimkujik Seaside Nat. Park (Clam Harbour to Cape Sable Island):
– 32 pairs and four singles (down from 2013: 35 pairs + three singles).
– 44 nests initiated: 28 hatched, 15 failed, one unknown fate.
– 55 fledglings produced (chicks that reached 20 days old).
– Annual productivity was 1.7 fledglings per monitored pair > 1.65 target.
– Nine beaches occupied by one or more breeding pairs, including: Durham Lane (no previous nesting record), The Hawk (last recorded nesting in 2004), and Little Port Joli, Kejimkujik Seaside (last recorded nesting in 1989). In 2013, 16 beaches were occupied.
– One nest lost due to ATV disturbance at Crow’s Neck.

In northern NS (Pictou & Antigonish Cos. to Cape Breton):
– 14 pairs + two singles (down from 2013: 17 pairs).
– 15 nests initiated: 12 hatched and three failed.
– 25 fledglings produced (chicks that reached 20 days old)
– Annual productivity was 1.8 fledglings per monitored pair > 1.65 target.
– Eight beaches occupied by one or more breeding pairs. In 2013, eight beaches were occupied.
– No nests lost due to human disturbance.

2012 chicks, fledged 3 successfully in that year!
plover 2014
2014: Here’s Mom or Dad
E4 from 2014 as a White Point, NS juvenile travelled ot and wintered 2300 miles away on Eleuthera, The Bahamas