Today I awoke to some disappointingly scandalous news: a lovely woman named Brianna (“Bri”) reported she allegedly found the first Piping Plover egg in New Jersey at about 9AM in Ocean City.
It only went downhill from there.
Shortly after, Todd Pover reported that the amazing Holgate crew leader Amy Kopec allegedly found a second egg in Holgate.
Brianna is this season’s official beach nesting bird monitor for New Jersey Fish & Wildlife assigned to Barnegat Light. It is the most coveted position in the program, and arguably the highest honor in all of New Jersey Fish & Wildlife. Plover Park in Barnegat Light State Park is not just the most important habitat on the coast, but it’s also everyone’s favorite. And Todd Pover literally invented Todd Pover’s Plover Park.
So why would these two important figures in Barnegat Light go reporting other peoples’ birds as “first” before Barnegat Light had even been checked? I have no clue. I don’t want to go down a conspiracy rabbit hole or anything like that. But someone would have to pay me a lot of money to do Plover Park dirty like that.
Anyway, it all turned around quickly when Giantsbane & Jennifer Jason Leigh laid their first egg today in Plover Park. It is Barnegat Light’s first Piping Plover egg of 2023, and most likely, the first in the whole world.
Because of the unusual situation, I’m willing to compromise.
We’ll call it a “Three-way Tie, But Mostly Giantsbane.“
Fun fact: The egg Amy found today in Holgate belongs to Kookie and Kookie is the offspring of (drum roll please)… Giantsbane & Jennifer Jason Leigh! Kookie is one of the amazing alumni of Plover Park who are showing the world what the recovery of an endangered species looks like. Plover Park is not just cranking out babies, but those babies are thriving, returning, and making more babies. It is a dream come true. But somehow that makes it worse that Giantsbane and JJL’s baby’s egg (grandb-egg-y?) was reported before theirs. They at least could have logged all the data into NestStory but not saved it until Plover Park had been checked. Sheesh.
Love this on every level!
Aawww, beautiful egg!❤️
Yes. GB & JJL are pros. No shabby eggs from these two.
Is it a dumb question to ask why beach birds (plover and oyster catchers at least) seem to lay their eggs without the protection of a nest of sticks, twigs, etc? Would a nest draw attention?
I believe the reason is the nests and eggs are designed by nature to blend in with the sand substrate and thus not be obvious to predators.
Precisely. It is all about the camo. Sometimes the most “obvious” spot is the heard nest to find.
Camouflage is the protection they need. Regarding the structure, as that provided by sticks, they dig a shallow impression in the sand called a “scrape.” This forms the nest bowl which protects the eggs somewhat and allows them to be incubated in the bowl.
Ahh…It’s a man’s world and I guess JJL just creates and lays an egg and lives in it. Weird. 🤷♀️
See follow up post. There is a reason!