Sign of spring —piping plovers have returned

DON BINDLER PHOTO | A piping plover making itself at home on Shell Beach Saturday.

DON BINDLER PHOTO | A piping plover making itself at home on Shell Beach Saturday.

Our friend Don Bindler wrote to say that piping plovers have returned on schedule to the reconstructed Shell Beach. Don spotted four there Saturday morning morning.

“The widened expanse of beach, as a result of dredging,” Don wrote, “has been fenced off to protect the nesting area.”

A New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) fact sheet describes piping plovers, an endangered species in New York, as weighing one-and-a-half to two-and-a-quarter ounces. These delightful birds build their nests in sandy areas near dunes, but with little or no shore grass.

The piping plover start arriving on the breeding ground from early to mid-March. During May and June, one egg is laid every other day until the average clutch of four eggs is complete.

They get their name from the high, “piping” sound they make as they scurry along beaches and take to the skies.

DON BINDLER PHOTO

DON BINDLER PHOTO