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Old 06-18-2017, 03:17 PM
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IBSP Piping Plover Update #1

The following is from NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife Endangered and Nongame Specie Program Christina Davis:

Greetings all!
As many of you may have already heard, there is a Piping Plover nest at Island Beach Park! The nest is due to hatch later this month but I am starting our e-mail updates ahead of that so folks have a resource where they can ask questions and receive information directly from the Division. Please know you can always contact me at the address below or by calling either number below and I will be happy to help you.

The nest is located in the Natural Area, at the southern end of Island Beach State Park, much further south than last year. Consequently, the vehicle closure will be smaller than last year and is due to begin on 6/23. Pedestrian access will remain open. We believe the pair may be the same individuals as last year based on timing of nest -- it was initiated within one day of last year's date. The two chicks that survived last year were banded but we have not gotten any reports on them since they left the site last August. This is not uncommon, as it can take two years before they begin breeding. We hope to see them again one day!

The nest is currently protected with a wire cage (called an exclosure) that helps prevent predation of the nest. Once the chicks hatch, they will almost immediately leave the nest bowl -- and the protection that the cage provides. From there on out, camouflage is their number one defense mechanism.

Although we have just the one pair again, we have seen more plover activity at the site. This year we saw an uptick of plover pairs in Barnegat Light, up to 5 pairs from 3 pairs last year. The plovers on the south side of the inlet are banded (they are part of a research study on chick mortality) and we have observed many of them coming to Island Beach throughout the spring to forage. This is common at many of our sites where an inlet is present -- the birds like to bop back and forth between the sides. The bands are located on the upper legs (to help prevent band related injuries) so if you are out and about with your binoculars, take a look and maybe you will be able to see those color bands. Let us know if you do and we can help you identify the individual!

We look forward to another great year working with all the user groups. Please don't hesitate to reach out - one of our biggest hurdles is misinformation so we want to battle that in any way we can and you all are a wonderful conduit for factual information.
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