An endangered piping plover scurries along the sand at Sauble Beach on Wednesday, May 2, 2018, in this file photo.
Denis Langlois/The Sun Times
Denis Langlois / Denis Langlois/The Sun Times/Pos
With this year’s piping plover nesting season drawing to a close, only one of the endangered shorebirds is still scurrying along the sand at Sauble Beach.All four of the adult birds have left for their wintering grounds, along with one of the two chicks that hatched this season at Sauble.The other fledgling is expected to depart on its long journey south soon, Norah Toth said Sunday.“He’s really moving around the beach now. He’s from the north nest and, of course, they go where they get the best food. So he’s been wandering all over the beach,” said the chair of Stewardship Grey Bruce.She said the organization, which oversees with Bird Studies Canada the local Plover Lovers monitoring program, is “quite happy” two chicks fledged this season at Sauble.“It would have been nice to have more, but two is better than not at all,” she said, noting it’s been a tough season for the plovers.“The weather has been up and down, but the lake levels are the big thing,” she said. “The lake levels are so high, so what that does is it reduces the amount of room that the plovers can share with people, which can be a challenge for them.“What happens is it’s harder for them to get to the shore to drink. And it also moves them back into the higher grasses, which is nice camouflage and protection for them, but I think the drift line is still the best place for nutrition.“So it means that they’re not getting maybe quite the same level of nutrition and maybe that’s why the one guy is still here. Maybe he still needs to bulk up a bit more.”Two pairs of piping plovers nested this year at Sauble Beach.Four chicks hatched from Nest 1 near 11th Street, but one of the chicks later died and another was killed by a predator.Only two of the four eggs laid in Nest 2 near 3rd Street North hatched. Both chicks were later killed by predators.Toth said the Plover Lovers believe one of the chicks that fledged from Nest 1 left some time ago for its wintering grounds.She said she believes it may have arrived already in Florida, based on photographs taken and shared by birders at beaches in that state.At Sauble, the roped-off areas for the plover chicks have all been removed, she said, as well as the exclosures that once kept the nests safe from predators.Two plover chicks also successfully fledged at Sauble in 2018, while 2017 was one of the most successful for the piping plover recovery program, with seven chicks fledging at Sauble.