piping plovers

6.29.22 ~ Harkness Memorial State Park

Another gorgeous day for a walk, this time through the meadow and nature preserve at Harkness Memorial State Park.

All the birds were quite far away and the distance was a bit too much for my zoom lens to handle.

song sparrow high up top of a tree
song sparrow and cobweb

When we got to the bird viewing blind at Goshen Cove I was delighted to see and to add a new lifer to my list, even though the dozen or so piping plovers were so tiny and at a good distance…

Piping Plover, #72

Piping Plover Charadrius melodus: Endangered, rare to locally uncommon migrant; breeds on sandy beaches with limited human disturbance, mid-March to mid-November.
~ Frank Gallo
(Birding in Connecticut)

Piping Plovers are sandy grayish brown birds with white underparts and a narrow, often broken collar. They have yellowish orange legs in all seasons. In the breeding season, they have an orange bill with a black tip, a black collar, and a black line on the forehead. In the nonbreeding season, the bill is black and the collar fades to gray and doesn’t go all the way around the breast.
~ All About Birds webpage

I was so captivated by the piping plovers I almost missed this willet who came strolling by, much closer to the blind. As if offended, he turned and walked away from me.


Three women came into the blind and were very excited by some activity on the osprey nest. They didn’t notice the piping plovers at all. I finally looked at the ospreys, also too far away for my camera…


After all that stimulation we left the blind and continued along through the lovely meadow. There was a touch of humidity and although it wasn’t too much for me Tim was starting to feel it. This may be our last extended walk for a while. It’s supposed to get hot and humid tomorrow.

a nice park setting between the meadow and Long Island Sound
Long Island Sound

While we were taking in a view of Long Island Sound we heard the unmistakable call of approaching American oystercatchers. Three of them finally came into view flying over the sound, parallel to the the shoreline. We followed them with our eyes until the they vanished on the horizon. I hope we’ll get to have some nesting on our beach this summer. We saw them about this time last year.

26 thoughts on “piping plovers”

  1. Barbara, thank you for the piping plover shots! Was at Cape Cod last week and one day we walked on the Audobon property in Wellfleet. The willets and osprey were everywhere but it was the piping plover sighting that had the locals excited.

    1. You’re welcome, Janet! I’m so glad you got to see some piping plovers! I remember that Audubon sanctuary in Wellfleet from my childhood, my parents took us there walking and birdwatching almost every summer vacation. I bet time has changed the landscape over the years.

    1. If I was healthier and able to travel I’d plan a trip to Norway and we would go birdwatching together, Leelah! (“Norway is the natural home to around 300 of the world’s approximately 9,000 bird species.” ~ Norway Today)

  2. What a pretty picture of Long Island Sound! Lovely walk today — I especially enjoyed seeing the song sparrow with its mouth wide open!

    1. Thank you, Debbie! That song sparrow was singing so loud and seemed so happy to be alive! 🌞 I didn’t see the cobweb with the bug caught in it until I got the pictures loaded up on the laptop.

    1. Very happy to know you’re enjoying all my pictures, Peggy! We do feel blessed to have all these state parks and open spaces so close by.

    1. It was exciting, Eliza! I couldn’t count them as they were moving around so quickly but there must have been about a dozen of them. It was a beautiful day!

    1. Thank you, Donna! Oh my goodness, I am so surprised that you haven’t seen piping plovers yet as you’ve got so many birds on your life list already! 🌞 I guess it was really a lucky day for me. 😉

  3. Oh Barbara, I am very excited with you about seeing a new bird the piping plover! I went to the website. Might this be the breeding adult? (I don’t know what #72 means). And it’s funny that the other visitors didn’t notice. People are funny about observations.

    I would love to hear more about your “new lifer list”. How do you document and maintain it. Paper or computer. How many on the list. Do you date. And what you’ve recorded. This might make for a fun future post. I’m wondering if I might want to start a list.

    1. From what I could see these piping plovers looked liked breeding adults to me.

      About my life bird list, I use the book “Birding in Connecticut” by Frank Gallo which lists all the birds found in Connecticut. I went through the list and checked off and counted up all the kinds of birds I know I’ve seen since my childhood. There were 65. Then last summer I saw a black vulture for the first time so I counted it as #66 and marked the date on the list in the book. I’ve seen a few new-to-me birds since then and the piping plover wound up being #72. There are 439 bird species recorded in Connecticut so the possibilities seem endless!

      1. Yes, Barbara, it appeared to me that you saw the breeding adults. I almost mentioned that observation in my comment.

        The way you are recording your bird sightings is a great way of keeping. I’m going to research to see if there might be a current book for the Texas coastal bend area. Your method seems easy enough for me to enjoy my observations and have fun with new discoveries.

        72 out of 439 is a great accomplishment!

        1. I’ll be interested to know how your search for a book on Texas coastal birds goes! If you can’t find one I know there are books for North America that might prove useful. I’m constantly surprised by the number of birds there are that I never knew existed.

          1. I did a google search. I found a few good choices. I also found a check list that could be printed. And most surprisingly I found an interactive site where “Birders” document what birds they see, the location, estimate of counts and dates. That site is up to date. The data can be sorted in various ways. That is site is truly for the serious advanced people who actively go to “bird find”.

            I think next time I’m at Barnes and Noble bookstore, I will see what they have in stock.

          2. Seems like there are many bird listing options to choose from! I hope you find the perfect book for your area the next time you go to Barnes & Noble. It seems like forever since I’ve been in a bookstore and I do miss the pleasure it used to bring me…

  4. The Plovers are cute and I laughed when you said the Willet walked away as if offended when you were busy looking at the Plovers. Of course he was miffed – another species of bird got your attention. 🙂 Birds never get the credit they deserve and that people label them as birdbrains is a mystery to me sometimes. You and I know differently. That Song Sparrow was a real cutie and I like that you got it singing in the first picture and looking just plain cute in the second picture. Funny you are showing us the osprey nest because did I mention seeing the osprey cruising overhead at Lake Erie Metropark a few weeks ago? I took an interpretive cruise a few years ago and the guide was mentioning the osprey pair who live at the fire station in the park. Well I never saw a fire station in the park, so didn’t think to look at the outskirts of the park as it is a residential area. Yesterday I parked at the fire station – a volunteer operation no doubt as no cars were in sight and the fire station was empty. So, the pair are up in a nest they fashioned on top of the pole with the sirens on it. The one osprey ventured out several times for extra sticks then returned. I was shooting into the sun most of the time, so hopefully one pic came out. The noise they make was quite loud, both when up in the nest and when returning home with a stick.

    1. I agree, Linda, birds are very smart and have distinct personalities that can be enjoyed when one takes the time to pay attention to them. 🙂 How lucky you were to find the ospreys at work building their nest! Are those sirens still being used? You’d think that noise would keep them away. (Maybe they were loud because they went deaf from the sirens?) I hope your pictures do come out!

      1. They have a second siren right next to where they are nesting – very close, the same height, so I can’t imagine that it is not damaging their eardrums or even scaring them or the chicks to fall out of the nest? They moved this nesting pair once because they built a nest too near electrical wires and it caused a power outage and the nest, with the eggs in it, had to be moved to another location. The osprey pair raised their young there, at the new location, then moved to the fire station. 🙂 I hope the pictures come out too. I need to check them because I could go take some more since I didn’t appear to be bothering anyone (human or non-humans).

        1. Sounds like they need to erect some more nesting platforms in better locations. It seems like the ospreys would only choose to live by the sirens as a last resort, poor things! But at least it made for a good photo op for you. 🙂

          1. I agree with you Barbara – you’d think a metropark would do more for these ospreys. They’ll raise their young and if there were more platforms, they also would return to raise their families. A win-win I would think. I hope so … I took a lot of photos (as usual). 🙂

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