We have found multiple flagged/banded Piping Plovers in Connecticut in 2016, and here is the story of one of them. Back on March 31 one of our coastal waterbird technicians, Ewa Holland, found a green flagged "09C" bird at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison. It remained there until at least last Sunday, May 22, appropriately last seen by Ewa. It had not had nesting success and was still attempting to find a place and mate in poor habitat on a small section of beach. It was with another bird on May 22 and doing aerial displays.
However, another one of our field staff, Elizabeth Amendola, did not see it at Hammonasset on Tuesday, May 24. Yesterday, May 25, one of our volunteer monitors, Frank Mantlik, told me he had a flagged Piping Plover on Short Beach in Stratford. There has been a female spotted occasionally at Short Beach, and a pair (not including this bird) on May 24, but we have no nesting there yet in 2016. My office is at Stratford Point just across the way so I went over and joined Frank. The bird was out of sight for a while, but I picked it back up along the waterline.
It was somewhat skittish with a strong wind going, joggers and walkers passing by, fishermen, other peep shorebirds that would flush and then flush it, and so forth. The legs looked healthy and appeared fine, and it fed, flew and behaved like a normal Piping Plover - leg condition being something we ask you to check for specifically if you spot a flagged or banded Piping Plover along with general health, detailed location, behavior, and flag/band condition.
But what about the rest of the bird's history? It was banded on June 4, 2015 at Sandy Point Rhode Island as part of a nanotag project led by Pam Loring. Last year's nest was predated around June 10, 2015 and it was last detected in Rhode Island in mid-July 2015. The bird was found in migration at Cape Hatteras, Nortn Carolina from mid-July to mid-August, then recorded at Abaco, Bahamas around October 30, 2015 to January 30, 2016. If you find a flagged/banded Piping Plover please report it to CT DEEP's Laura Saucier (Laura.Saucier@ct.gov) and include us at the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (firstname.lastname@example.org) as well - thank you! We hope this bird has nesting success in Stratford.