The Plover Park Diaries, May 16th

This Time It’s Different

May 16th

Warren Buffet taught me never to say it, and my dad taught me never to believe it, but maybe, just maybe, this time it’s different?

I remember lugging the massive, solar-powered sound system into Plover Park earlier this spring, and I remember the quick conversation about where to put it. I can’t remember why we specifically dropped it in the park’s northeast corner, but probably because it was so heavy and no one cared too much.

I don’t think anyone believed it would be of any consequence anyway. The monster sound system Alf Breed built for NJFW has been blasting out Least Tern calls around Plover Park for the last two years to almost no effect at all. Sure, a couple of Terns have occasionally landed, sat around for a few days, gotten everyone’s hopes up, and then promptly disappeared.

But fool me once…

I also get the sense that NJFW has mixed feelings about the presence of Least Terns in Plover Park, even though they are one of our four native species of beach-nesting birds under siege, and the park is an excellent place for them. But they are also chaotic, noisy, and sloppy, so they tend to attract predators, and that could add new risks for the already-struggling plovers.

While all of that is important and interesting, selfishly, I WANT LETE! I would love to see Plover Park so lousy with LETE that I’d have to start calling it Least Tern Park instead. They are just so gorgeous, elegant, chaotic, and funny. It would also be great for locals and visitors alike to be able to see a thriving Least Tern colony and catch a glimpse of what this island looked like before we arrived here. Absolute chaos! You genuinely can’t understand summer on the beach at the Jersey Shore until you’ve seen a thriving Least Tern colony in action.

It’s almost June, and one of my Least Tern photos, probably my most famous, is going to be hanging on walls and refrigerators around the world as the photo-of-the-month in the National Audubon Society’s 2021 calendar.

Could it be a sign? Probably not. But what surely is a sign is the pair of Least Terns I saw copulating right in front of Alf’s massive LETE sound system today! I can hardly believe it. I’m terrified to believe it. But I think we are about to see the first Least Tern nest in Barnegat Light in God-knows-how-many-years.

Sorry Warren, and sorry dad, but this time? It’s different! Oh please, please, please, please, let it be different!


  1. AMAZING photo, Northside! How soon ‘til Jan-Dec are ALL yours? I vote Beasty for Jan! Thanks, as always, for sharing your pictures and stories❤️


  2. That would be great if the Least Terns nested at the park!
    Congrats on getting into the Audubon Calendar – that’s a big deal!!


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