Today. July 8th. This is the part some of you missed.
I hope you enjoyed following our beach-nesting birds’ recent dramas through The Plover Park Diaries series.
It’s become apparent from the comments that some of you had missed the gimmicky narrative technique employed in the series. All of the events documented began about a month earlier and slowly led us back to the present moment. Each post in the series was titled and started with the date it took place, but it seems that was a bit too subtle for some folks. My apologies.
It was a cheap trick to help me get caught up quickly and to share the incredible drama that took place this spring with our local birds in Plover Park. Unfortunately, I was too busy with NestStory to type it up while it happened, yet I didn’t want to lose the opportunity to record these incredible stories (as I did last year.)
Thankfully, we’re mostly caught up, and not a moment too soon. The last post in The Plover Park Diaries series, released last night, was dated June 16th. Today is July 8th. That means all of these nests you’ve been reading about are about to hatch. Imminently.
Regardless of what the future is holding for us, the true heroines of this story are Kashi Davis and Emily Heiser. They pulled out every stop and launched a blitz-heavy offensive at Plover Park to protect these precious and hard-earned nests despite multiple catastrophes and overwhelmingly poor odds. They weren’t shy about taking risks and making bold calls, including building cages around the nests even when they were only at one egg, despite the risk of abandonment being much higher. They called in every favor they could and spared no effort to make sure these nests were protected without delay. They were tireless to the extent that it is difficult to convey.
When Todd Pover found those first nests while giving a tour to the Yacht Club, they even made him stay at the Park all day to help as they immediately dispatched a team to build exclosures. They didn’t let a single egg spend a single night at the mercy of a trickster Coyote or a vicious surprise nor’easter.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt more grateful for Kashi & Emily’s smarts, skills, and total commitment to our animals. The entire crew at NJFW is unbelievably dedicated. I don’t know how they do it. I’m exhausted just trying to write about it. Had they ever said to me, “I think we should just give up and try again next year,” I probably would have sighed in relief, said “Thank God,” and happily returned to a serene summer along the shore.
They are as resilient, determined, and inspirational as the animals they are saving for us.
The result of their effort is that despite an incredible amount of anxiousness anticipating continued catastrophes, always waiting for the next shoe to drop, the last few weeks have been relatively uneventful as our pairs have laid low tending their eggs.
And now, here we are. After a double-dip round-trip through catastrophe, we are right back to where we were just before Memorial Day: on the eve of an epic hatch of a record number of Piping Plovers in Barnegat Light, led by some of our most beloved, celebrity Plovers.
So everybody, take a deep breath because we are about to be overrun by babies. And it’s going to be nuts.
We just have to make it through Elsa.
Stay tuned for The Little Egg Hatch Cams, streaming live from Plover Park soon.