Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Piping Plover: Marsh Bird - Diamondback Terrapin: Road Herp

I filmed the Piping Plover in the video below today at Long Beach in Stratford while checking on them and the condition of the United States Fish and Wildlife temporary road. It is intentionally zoomed out and in to show the bird's location. It also shows how they frequently hide in small depressions when there is no grass in the immediate area. This could be a danger to them now that the Stratford Police Department is using the USFWS road that runs the length of the beach.

Piping Plover from Connecticut Audubon Society.

The Piping Plover is on the Great Meadows side of Long Beach. The species uses all of land, and not simply the sandy Sound side. This is critical information that must be a part of habitat management and conservation planning. Protecting only the beach is not enough for the threatened species.

Prior to recording this, I saw two Piping Plovers, possibly a young one, fly from the marsh side over the temporary road to back to the beach. One can only hope that they stay off of the road now that it is being used so frequently

The only "rare" bird I saw today was a single Brant. While this goose species is a common sight in the Stratford Great Meadows IBA during the winter and some of spring, this is a very late date. I stayed far from the individual, and only watched it briefly, but it looked healthy.

I also took note of two Diamondback Terrapins on the road, very likely there to lay eggs. They nest every year in the sands of Long Beach. Ground predators, such as raccoons, dig up many of these nests. You will frequently find eggshells next to slight holes in the sand or dirt throughout the IBA. As you can imagine ground-nesting birds also have this problem with predation. Even the Piping Plovers suffered through it this year as something dug under one of the nest enclosures and devoured the eggs.

Once again, I hope that the police and town vehicles now using this road to patrol the cottage area of Long Beach are mindful of what they are driving over.

Photos and video © Scott Kruitbosch

No comments:

Post a Comment