Conserve Wildlife Blog

Plovers in Paradise

November 9th, 2013

The Bahamas Blog – Trip 1, Day 5

By Todd Pover, Beach Nesting Bird Project Manager and  Stephanie Egger, Wildlife Biologist

Piping Plovers Bahamas_General Presentation

CWFNJ’s presentation at Friends of the Environment to the local Abaconian community on November 7, 2013.

Last night we presented for the Abaconian community at Friends of the Environment’s office on the international link of piping plovers between the Bahamas and the United States, draft results from the 2011 International Piping Plover Census, and the importance of the Bahamas to piping plovers. We had a decent turnout including David Knowles from the Bahamas National Trust and a writer from the local Abaco newspaper.  We spoke at length with Abaco’s premier birder, Woody Bracey, who has helped with on the ground coordination for piping plover surveys over the last several years.  We hope to work with Woody and other Abaconians to develop a citizen scientist network to survey sites that we have been unable to get to because of time or logistics (i.e. tide cycle, transportation to the site) and to have the network securely in place for the 2016 International Census.

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Shorebird tracks on Bookies Beach. Although we were unable to see any birds at the time we surveyed, we will return to confirm if any plovers use this site.

The following day was not a big piping plover sighting day, but the sites we did visit were mainly for recon purposes.  We did get a chance to visit Bahamas Palm Shores South where we saw one piping plover (bringing the total for the week to 87).  We found that Bahamas Palm Shores North was eroded, where previously there has been plovers observed there in 2011. We also got a chance to go to Little Harbor onto “Bookies Beach.”  The site was a bit challenging to get to, but we made it with some very helpful directions from a local.  Unfortunately by the time we got there it was not the right tide cycle, but there was evidence that shorebirds had been there (tracks in the sand), possibly plovers, so we plan to revisit that site in January to confirm presence or absence of piping plovers.  One last spot we visited was Schooner Bay, which had a very nice facility to host traveling scientists.  We will definitely consider staying here in January to survey its beaches and for its location to southern sites in Abaco that need to be surveyed.

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Spreading the word on piping plovers in every way possible.

At the end the day, we were able to relax a bit with our partners from Friends of the Environment at Pete’s Pete’s Pub and Gallery as they were gearing up for the annual Kayak Challenge that raises money for their organization and cancer.  We had time to relax, but also reconnect with locals that heard about CWFNJ’s efforts this year and in the past.  Pete’s was kind enough to let us put up our piping plover decal as well!

Next up on the agenda is two days over at Hope Town on Elbow Cay, Abaco.  We will have a day off, followed by a day working with Loggerhead Productions on the video that will come out of this project.  More to follow on the video!

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