DATELINE CAPE HENLOPEN _ Beachnesters and nor'easters don't go very well together. Certainly not in Delaware. Which means for the piping plovers at Cape Henlopen State Park, this week has been a case of two steps forward and one step back.
Following the May 12 nor’easter, in which six of eight plover nests were lost, two pairs have thus far re-nested at the park, and numerous pairs are scraping and courting, with new nests certainly soon to be laid.
Unfortunately, there has been one major setback, with one of the plover nests that survived the storm having been taken by a fox. “With no evidence that either of the adults were injured, we hope that the pair will re-nest,” said Wildlife Biologist Matt Bailey, who serves as coordinator of the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Piping Plover Protection Program.
In other beachnester news, a pair of oystercatchers was seen yesterday sitting on a scrape. “We are going to try to check the nest from afar, so that we can determine whether the scrape contains eggs. Oystercatchers are easily disturbed, so we do our best to not approach potential nests,” Bailey said.
Last week’s storm was responsible for many changes on the beaches that it hit. Miles of beach were overwashed along the Delaware Bay, and Bailey and the rest of the beachnesting team are hard at work visiting as many of them as possible. “We are also keeping an eye on ocean beaches to determine if any of the plovers that lost their nests have settled in to new locales,” Bailey said.
For more information on piping plovers and volunteer plover monitor training, please contact Matt Bailey at 302-739-9912 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.