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An amazing Piping Plover sighting on Seabrook Island North Beach

Aija and Ed Konrad share their stories from Seabrook Island

On Sunday Aija and I did our usual prowl for wintering Piping Plovers (PIPL) on Seabrook North Beach. It was a densely foggy morning, but we still spotted four plovers. When we got home, Ed’s usually wonderful photos were a foggy mess. One plover had an Orange band. and what we thought was a gray band.

Ed sent photos to our researcher friend, Alice Van Zoeren, from the Great Lakes Piping Plover Conservation Team in Michigan. Alice replied, “Could it be purple?” And if it was, it could be “very exciting.”

Purple? Very exciting? We had never seen a PIPL with a purple band in all our years of searching!

We were back out the next day, a beautiful morning, and spotted 7 PIPL, all unbanded. Then, there it was - our banded “purple” with the number 31. We watched for a long time in the scope as it scampered around the beach, and Ed got great pictures! 

Above is a chick from the Point Betsie nest, studied by Great Lakes Piping Plover Conservation Team in Michigan. It's the only chick that fledged from this new 2019 nesting area. Photo: Aija and Ed Konrad

Here is Alice's info on this PIPL:

"You've proved it! This is the chick from our Point Betsie nest. It's the only one that fledged from this new 2019 nesting area. It's a very busy and narrow beach just south of the Point Betsie Lighthouse. You can see us banding it on this Chicago Tribune video! Some of this video is of us catching and banding another brood, but this chick is the one in my hand, and running off while Steph chants "survive, survive!" Guess it worked."

Be sure to watch the above video from Alice, and turn on audio once the video loads. Amazing! What a special visitor, indeed! What a beautiful story about our endangered little winter guests and the challenges they face!

A map showing where in Michigan this Piping Plover chick fledged from. Photo: Aija and Ed Konrad

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