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For several years I monitored the north side of Ponce
Inlet while the Army Corp of Engineers were extending
the jetty wall to the west during the breeding season
each year.  Human and dog activities disrupted the
Wilson's Plovers' breeding attempts over and over. 
Eventually a dog leash requirement was instituted and
a conservation group was able to get permission from
the Town of Ponce Inlet to put up some protective
barriers to the island where most of the nesting
occurred.  Unfortunately, nothing prevented approach
from the water side and disruption continued.  Unless
they were considered endangered like the Piping Plover
is, little to no active protection is going to take
place like it does for the Pipings.  I was always most
frustrated by the lack of respect by people concerning
nesting sites.  I don't know the answer except to just
continue talking to people and educating them as best
we can.  And, if children aren't getting the message
from adults, which I fear most aren't judging by the
behavior of children and adults at the beaches, then
the birds will have to try to do the best they can. 
Very sad.

Meret Wilson
Ormond
--- Patrick Leary <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Levy and Dixie County: This past weekend we
> conducted shorebird surveys near Cedar Key and Shell
> Mound in Levy County and near Shired Island in Dixie
> County. Although our primary target was migrant Red
> Knots, we noted multiple species at all sites. On
> this occasion, the region was experiencing the odd
> tides known for the area and water levels fell
> little from high water lines. Off the road shoulder
> just east of downtown Cedar Key, we found 700-800
> Short-billed Dowitchers foraging up to their bellies
> in soft mud. With them were several hundred Dunlin
> and similar nos. of Semipalmated Sandpiper that
> struggled to feed in the sticky substrate. Also
> present were 20 or so Willet. The gulf west of town
> held few birds on the exposed oyster bars and rakes
> and the vast tidal bars never exposed at low tide.
> At Seahorse Key we enjoyed the aerial show of
> Magnificent Frigatebirds holding station over the
> pristine island. 
> 
> To the NE at Shell Mound, on a tiny offshore Key, we
> found a few roosting Red Knots, Ruddy Turnstone,
> Short-billed Dowitcher, Royal Terns, Black Skimmers
> and 15 Am. Oystercatcher. Of the latter, several
> pair were nesting on the Key along with a pair of
> Wilson's Plover. After documenting this activity, we
> hastily departed to avoid disturbance. A couple of
> kayakers were present, were informed of the
> situation and asked to depart with us. Regrettably,
> the bird's respite was short-lived with the arrival
> of yet another recreational vessel and two bait
> fisherman. (observed from a distant vantage point)
> This circumstance demonstrates the unfortunate
> status of most such coastal breeding sites in this
> state with very few remote areas free of highly
> adverse disturbances from the recreational public.
> By promptly reporting our observations to oversight
> authorities, it is hoped that greater protection is
> secured for this highly exposed and vulnerable site.
> 
> 
> On the outer beach of Hog Island, we found several
> hundred mixed species of shorebirds including: 1
> Piping plover, 16 Marble Godwit, Willet, 3 Whimbrel,
> Short-billed Dowitcher, 62 Black-belly Plover,
> Semipalmated plover, Wilson plover, Ruddy Turnstone,
> Red Knot, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper,
> Sanderling, various larids and one Reddish Egret.
> 
> To the north in Dixie County, we visited a site near
> Shired Island and found similar species and numbers
> of shorebirds and a flock of 40 Am. Oystercatchers
> that included a banded NC bird seen there in late
> winter. Amongst 33 Red Knot at this site, were two
> birds banded in SW Florida in winter 05-06. 
> 
> Doris and Patrick Leary, Fernandina Beach, Nassau
> County
> 
>
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