So Ruth Langmore

If you want to stop me, you’re gonna have to &%#$^!#* kill me!

Ruth Langmore

Of course, it was Ruth Langmore. It had to be Ruth Langmore. It was always going to be Ruth Langmore, and it was never-not going to be Ruth Langmore. So, of course, Ruth Langmore was the first of Plover Park’s Ozark brood to return this year to Plover Park.

In the summer of 2022, there was much to debate when it was decided to name Octavius Rex & Jennifer Jason Leigh’s final brood after various creeps and criminals from NetFlix’s hit series Ozark. Of course, any member of the show’s Byrde family would do, simply because the homophone is funny. Great character names like “Darlene Snell” and “Three” were argued for and against endlessly.

But there was never any question that one of the brood would be named Ruth Langmore.

What you got ain’t a disability, just poor judgement.

Ruth Langmore

Even at just a few weeks old, our own Ruth Langmore showed all of the brash sass, sharp survival instincts, and calculated confidence of her namesake from the show. While her siblings Three & Marty Byrde spent their early days cowering in the shadow of their bully father, Octavius Rex, Ruth was bravely wandering off on her own and soon completely controlled The Finger, efficiently handling the gangs of gulls and crows while feasting in Plover Park’s richest habitat. I have hours of film of her there. She is the beautiful young plover featured in Moonrise Over Plover Park, The Most Movie of All Time. Whenever I had to cut through The Finger on my way out of the Park, all the young plovers would scatter. But never Ruth Langmore.

Even from the start, she was always so… Ruth Langmore.

I don’t know %^@# about $!&$.

Ruth Langmore

So it was a thrill, but not surprising, to find her for the first time recently, all grown up, along the inlet at Barnegat Light. And it also wasn’t surprising that she quickly caught the eye of a handsome and ambitious mate. And, of course, it wasn’t surprising that she took complete control over the courtship.

Piping Plover courtship is a male-dominated phenomenon. First, the boys pick and defend the territory, then dig the little nests and look for approval from the ladies. But Ruth is playing by her own set of rules. Most of the times I’ve gone to find her, she’s been storming around the territory, tightening up every single scrape and yelling at everybody who comes by. Her mate sitting sheepishly to the side. She is clearly the boss of their little corner of the Park. Because, of course, she is. It’s so Ruth Langmore.

I even saw her engage in a “scrape battle” where her mate was digging a scrape for her, and instead of going and checking it out, she started digging her own scrape just a few feet away. He started peeping, so she started peeping more loudly, then got up and started shell tossing to make it a home. Finally, he just gave up, came over, and half-heartedly fanned his tail over Ruth’s scrape to get her “approval” as he would his own. She looked pretty pleased. 

I’ve seen females scrape before, but never anything like this. The whole thing was just so Ruth Langmore.

God’s a %&@%#$^&*!@# isn’t he? Built me smart enough to know how &%#&! up my life is, but not quite smart enough to haul my @$$ out of it.

Ruth Langmore

But there’s a reason Ruth Langmore was so scrappily belligerent and determined. Unfortunately, Ruth Langmore’s life was darkened by a cloud of tragedy called “The Langmore Curse.” And I’m beginning to fear Plover Park’s own Ruth Langmore might suffer something similar.

When she finally laid her first egg, it was covered in blood. It was gruesome, but also so Ruth Langmore.

The very next day, it was devoured by crows. So Ruth Langmore.

And the day after that, Bri was checking the Park and was shocked to see Ruth incubating again already, only this time, out in the middle of the beach. When Bri walked over to investigate, she found this:

Ruth Langmore had found the shell of the egg devoured by crows and was stubbornly, and tragically, trying to incubate it. It is one of the saddest things I can imagine. But it’s also so Ruth Langmore.

Everything he touches turns to dog%^$!. I’m starting to think we might be related.

Ruth Langmore

Yet, while Ruth’s life may be defined by tragedy, it’s also what propels her forward and sharpens her wits. 

The ultimate fate of Ruth Langmore will be the same one awaiting every one of us. But, for now, she’s quickly figured out who her enemies are in the Park and has found a safer place in the dune for her and her mate.

I’m really rooting for her. She is an extraordinary lady.

And despite any arguments laid out in And JJL Too, But Mostly Giantsbane!, there is no doubt everyone will be calling this one “Ruth Langmore’s Nest.”

If you ever walk the inlet, see if you can find Ruth feeding by the tidepool. Her bands are light blue and yellow on her left leg, and orange and grey on her right. Just don’t stare. Because if Ruth catches you looking, she will most certainly tell you to %$@^ off.

So Ruth Langmore.

You know, Wyatt, in our world, it’s good to be one of the smart ones. Remember that, okay?

Ruth Langmore

4 Comments

  1. Your blog posts have gotten much more exciting since the advent of Plover Pond, new cameras and generations of data. Unfortunately I don’t follow series on Netflix much so some of the comparisons are lost on me, but I still love them AND your pictures. I’ve been forwarding many to some birder friends.

    Like

    1. Suffice to say, she’s a fierce, trashy bully who is super smart and a total underdog who is continually underestimated.

      Like

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