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Some of you in the Volusia County area may have read in the paper about the
loss of turtle eggs due to the high tides.  Well, they didn't mention the
losses to other species, in particular the Wilson's Plovers.

Where I monitor the Ponce Inlet for the Army Corp of Engineers I had 3 active
Wilson's Plover nests, each with 3 eggs.  One nest was just a day or 2 away
from hatching.  The exceptionally high tides wiped out all the nests and
swept away the eggs.  I had 4 pairs of very distraught Plovers.  The 4th pair
had just lost its nest to human intruders on a part of the beach that is not
to be used for overnight camping.  They deserted the nest because the people
had pulled up a canoe almost right next to the nest.

For the past 2 weeks now I have had 4 pairs, and now 5 pairs of Wilson's
Plovers running around, recourting, feeding in a new pond along with
Semipalmated Plovers and Least Sandpipers.  (The 2 Spotted Sandpipers may
have finally taken off for the north as I did not see them yesterday or
today.)

Today I walked my usual route to the end of the new jetty extension where I
have been finding one of the pairs consistently for the past week.  The male
went into his broken wing routine.  I perched on a rock and figured, as they
often do for me, the female will reestablish her trust and go back to her
nest.  This is usually how I find the nests, patience!  She did not.  He kept
doing the broken wing thing and she kept marching up and down a sand ridge.
I decided that I best leave so they can get back to the nest.  When I stood
up I found the nest, straight in front of me and not 2 feet away.  Ah ha!
Now it was making sense the male behavior.  I made a mental note of the
location and skidadled out of there.

Now the real job is to convince the Corp that the nest MUST be protected.
The corp guy asked me if we could "take" the nest or move it.  A vigorous NO
to both questions.  Now, I have to monitor people AND the Corp along with the
birds who are  the most cooperative of the lot!!!

Meret Wilson
Ormond Beach, FL

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