Beth Shockley, Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.
Piping plover chicks have fledged at Cape Henlopen State Park
LEWES (Aug. 13, 2012) – Piping plovers that have nested in Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes this year are wrapping up their breeding season. The seven pairs of piping plovers have a total of seven fledged chicks between them.
Six of the nesting pairs this year were found at the Point in Cape Henlopen State Park and another pair nested at the Gordons Pond area of the park.
Piping plovers depend on the dynamic nature of coastal geology to create suitable nesting habitat. Storms and high tides wash over and around dunes and clear out vegetation providing the open or sparsely vegetated beach areas where plovers prefer to nest.
“Because the habitat can change drastically from season to season, the number of plovers nesting in a given area can also change, said DNREC Wildlife Biologist Matthew Bailey. “Although in the past we have had as many as ten pairs of plovers nest in Delaware in a single season, it is too early to tell if the current dip in plover numbers is a temporary situation or is part of a longer term trend.”
Since the breeding season is over, the ocean beach at Gordons Pond was opened to vehicular and foot traffic on Saturday, Aug. 11. In order to give refuge to the thousands of shorebirds that migrate through Delaware in late summer and the fall, the ocean beach at the Point will remain closed until September 1 and the bay side of the Point will remain closed until October 1.
Nearly two-thirds of a mile of beach at Gordons Pond had been closed to protect nesting piping plovers and other threatened and endangered beach nesting and migratory shorebirds. Although the ocean beaches will be open, the dunes and overwash areas at Gordons Pond and the Point will remain closed to protect sensitive habitat areas.
For more information on beachnesting birds and monitoring efforts, please contact Wildlife Biologist Matthew Bailey at 302-382-4151 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vol. 42, No. 307