The 2009 Piping Plover Recovery Team is well into another season. Surveys have been conducted at 16 sites thus far and 9 Piping Plovers have been detected in Manitoba this season.
Yet again we have six Piping Plover at Grand Beach Provincial Park – The plovers arrived early in May and all pairs initiated nests by the end of May, one at “the Channel”, one in “Parking lot #5”, and one on “West Beach”. Our Channel birds have a full clutch of four eggs that are due to hatch from June 28-July 1, and our Parking lot pair have a clutch of 3 eggs which are anticipated to hatch from July 1-July 3. Unfortunately, for some unknown reason our “West Beach” pair abandoned their nest with only one egg on Sunday, June 1. This pair has been seen in the area since but have not established another nest as of yet. Recovery staff has been monitoring all pairs at Grand beach since early May, come the end of June there will be baby Piping Plovers roaming along the shorelines of Grand Beach which means there is a great need for added monitoring protection to ensure chick survival to fledging (sustained flight). The first 20 days of life are crucial for chick survival – The young have 3 weeks to learn how to forage and fly before becoming independent from their parent (father raises the chicks after the first few days after hatching). Due to limited human resources the recovery team will need the help of many volunteers to allow for continuous monitoring of the family groups. Over the past few years since the inception of the Piping Plover Recovery Program at Grand Beach Provincial Park there have been many record successes for Manitoba – including a highest ever number of chicks fledged (13 in 2006) and a 100% chick survival rate (8 out of 8 chicks fledged in 2008). These successes are directly attributed to our many dedicated volunteers and amazing recovery staff.
For the first time ever a pair of Piping Plovers have nested on Gimli Beach. Birds have been sighted at this location early in the season in past years however the high frequency of human disturbance on this beach usually displaces the birds before a nest can be established. This year with a cold start to the summer Gimli Beach has been relatively “people-free” allowing the birds to initiate a nest. The birds were discovered by a recovery team member on May 16, and a nest was found with one egg on May 27. The fourth egg (full clutch) was laid on June 1, 2009. Protective fencing, signage, and a predator exclosure were installed around the nest site to provide the utmost protection for these delicate birds. Consistent incubation does not usually occur until the fourth egg is laid in most cases and Piping Plovers have a 25-28 day incubation period. This nest is due to hatch from June 25-June 28. Daily monitoring of the nest is ongoing by recovery staff an intensive monitoring schedule will commence beginning June 26 through to July 16 (from the hours of 0600h-2200h).