Ontbirds subscribers,

After a prior absence of 81 years, this is the second consecutive year that a 
pair of Piping Plovers has initiated nesting on the Canadian shore of Lake 
Ontario in the Greater Toronto Area. Yesterday, I confirmed that the female of 
a pair of Piping Plovers present at Darlington Provincial Park for the past 
week had laid their first egg in a nest there. The female bird from this pair 
is banded and is known to originate from a nest in Michigan. The male bird is 
also banded and is known to be one of the birds that fledged from a nest at 
Wasaga Beach last summer. 

The location of the nest has been 
shared with the recovery team for the Piping Plover of the Canadian Wildlife
 Service and further protection of this nest (territory perimeter fencing, 
do not enter signage, no dogs allowed signage, a predator exclosure, nest 
surveillance, etc.) has already been established under the joint auspices of 
the Canadian Wildlife Service, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and 
Ontario Parks. The posted signage warns that fines may be charged for those who 
do not obey the posted access restrictions.

Those wishing to come and view the birds are encouraged to do so, but please 
also remember that this is one of the rarest breeding birds in Ontario, and 
this Endangered Species is only now just trying to establish a new "beachhead" 
on Lake Ontario, where continued success might serve to provide range extension 
to other suitable beaches on Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. The nesting area on 
the Darlington Beach is clearly cordoned off with a roped perimeter fence with 
Piping Plover "Do Not Enter" signage. The predator exclosure over the nest is 
about in the middle of the cordoned area. Observers are requested to view the 
birds from outside the far west or east ends of the cordoned territory only. A 
section of the south perimeter allows observers to walk along the shoreline, 
but clear signage has been erected asking observers not to stop adjacent to the 
exclosure for observations, but to use this merely as a passage to enable 
access to both ends of the beach. 

In an era when so many of our birds are
 showing alarming declines, this is an enormously encouraging and novel 
conservation success story being written one Ontario beach at a time. 
Particularly after the unfortunate nest failure on Toronto's Hanlan's Point 
last summer, let's hope
 that we can do everything possible to help ensure that this pair of Piping 
Plovers has a successful nesting season here at Darlington in 2016. 

Very soon, in conjunction with the local natural history clubs like the Durham 
Region Field Naturalists and the Pickering Naturalists, a coordinated volunteer 
Piping Plover stewardship group will be organized. Those interested in 
volunteering time to monitor this nest are welcome to contact me [ 
glenn_co...@hotmail.com ] and I will introduce you to the plover watch 
coordination team.

Darlington Provincial Park can be accessed by exiting Hwy 401 at exit 425 
(Courtice Road) and taking Courtice Road south to the first right turn (west) 
onto Darlington Park Road where you can follow the signs to the provincial park 
entrance gate. Upon entrance to the park, follow the signage from here to the 
beach on Lake Ontario at the southeast corner of McLaughlin Bay.

Glenn Coady

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