[Ontbirds] Presqu'ile Piping Plovers copulating

Ian Shanahan r.ian.shanahan at gmail.com
Mon May 23 22:28:30 EDT 2016

Hello birders:

This afternoon between Noon and 2:00PM, Sofia Vargas Nessi and I watched 2
of the Piping Plovers (the 3rd individual did not show) in and around the
exclosure erected by Park staff at the Beach 2/3 area. The male completed a
display flight close to shore during a rare moment when the female was away
from 2 nesting scrapes that she was actively visiting at the back (east)
part of the exclosure. As per Doug McRae's observation from 20 May, after
digging in each scrape, the female PIPL would sit as though incubating
eggs. Eventually, the male joined the female, and after a brief bit of
strutting, he mounted the female and they copulated.

This is the first recorded observation of copulating Piping Plovers at
Presqu'ile for several decades (likely since at least the early 1960s,
though Park staff may have more concrete numbers on this).

Great binocular and telescope views of the birds can be had many metres
from the edge of the exclosure, and I encourage all to give this pair a
wide berth.

After sporadic attempts by lone birds to establish territory on the
Presqu'ile beach over the past decade, this year's copulating pair is an
exciting development for long-time Park visitors.

Presqu'ile Provincial Park is well signed south from Highway 401 Exit 509
(Brighton/Campbellford). To get to the Beach 2/3 area, park at the Owen
Point Trail parking lot and walk north along the beach.

Good birding!

Ian and Sofia

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