After spending a morning looking for terrapins without luck, I ventured back to the Arverne Piping Plover Nesting Area with higher hopes. I wasn't disappointed. Immediately I heard -- then saw -- an incredible display between three oystercatchers, and soon realized the possible reason for the scuffle: appears that a breeding couple were protecting their fledgling. Never saw a young oystercatcher and it was quite a treat!
I ventured over to the section with Least and Common Terns. Last time I roamed these dunes the birds didn't offer a warm welcome as they took turns diving at me. Between a concern of aggrevating them and being vomited on (evidently a persuasive tern tactic of which I have not yet had the pleasure of experiencing), I bolted. About a month later, I was met with a similar response though I did manage to get one quick photo of an adult with two chicks. Think I'll leave tern observation and photography to hardier souls than I.
The Piping Plovers were a most docile opposite. Adults were very active and came quite close to the boundary fence. Two in particular seemed to have a little routine as they moved amongst the dune grasses -- after speaking with one of the plover stewards I learned that they were proud parents of a fledgling! Last year, Arverne didn't see any chicks fledge but this year the count is 2 and is quite a big deal. Even the stewards looked like happy aunts and uncles! I plopped myself on the sand and after a few "tooting" calls from the adults, my first Piping Plover youngster appeared from behind a clump of grass!
A Black Skimmer scooting by in the surf as I headed home was simply the proverbial icing on the cake...
You KNOW I'll be back next week to see how my pals are growing!