Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Coastal Waterbird Monitoring

Piping Plover
Allens Pond Massachusetts Audubon Sanctuary is a participant in the Coastal Waterbird Program. The Coastal Waterbird Program monitors and protects more nesting sites on the Atlantic coast than any other non-governmental entity. Every year from March through September, we utilize a variety of management techniques to protect nesting and migratory coastal birds from human disturbance and predators.
Examples of management techniques include:
·    symbolic fencing
·    signage
·    electric fencing
·    exclosures
The Coastal Waterbird Program protects over 60 miles of coastline annually and manages approximately:
·    40-50 percent of the state's piping plovers
·    40 percent of Massachusetts least terns
·    20 percent of Massachusetts American oystercatchers
The program focuses on protection of the most threatened species of coastal birds, and more broadly, coastal ecosystem management. The Coastal Waterbird Program serves as a model for integrated coastal resource management.
Allens Pond has two monitors, Allison and Josie, who monitor and survey certain areas, keeping track of the endangered species, piping plovers, least terns, common terns, plus American oystercatchers.  They also monitor predators by utilizing trail cameras and at times being out all night monitoring.

I traveled with Josie as she surveyed the beach loop and East beach areas.  We did locate some new nests along where the oystercatcher was nesting.
Piping Plover

Piping Plover on Nest

Piping Plover

Piping Plover looking for a bug
American Oystercatcher

American Oystercatcher on nest
We spent some time observing the least terns, some more nesting and being fed by the male and others with a male was trying to find a mate by offering a fish.
Least Tern, offering a fish

Least Tern, offering a fish

Because the female least tern was on nest.  The male least tern left with its fish, looking for a mate

Least Tern, offering a fish

There was a group of approximately 10 Dunlin in breeding plumage in the East beach area
Dunlin, hopping on 1 foot, they keep the other foot up in the body to reduce heat loss
We made sure if a bird was on a nest, and when we were near it, it got off the nest, we would immediately leave.

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