Thursday, July 23, 2015

Spotted Sandpiper Chicks, 3 more days older

Two days when I went to check on the Spotted Sandpiper family at Florence River Park I thought they had likely perished--there were two men engaged in gold panning right where the parent sandpiper had been and they had dug some of the sand from the bank where I last saw the sandpiper chicks. Arggh, I was afraid that all this activity, plus a large off leash dog with these people, would have scared the parent away and even if the chicks were successful in hiding in the vegetation they would not survive without a parent at their young age. What a surprise when I returned that evening for one last check to be accosted by the parent sandpiper calling loudly and challenging me by walking right towards me (and my dog). It took awhile for the parent to settle down and for one of the chicks to walk in some grass where I could spot it--the parent had moved the chicks about 150 from the river into an area with a lot of vegetation. I returned day before yesterday and refound the parent and chicks back near the river where I had first spotted them--that is when I took these pics. They are 3 days older than the first pics I took.
After I took these pics I was able to observe the location where the chicks went into the vegetation by the river, with the parent nearby guarding, from my car. As I sat in my car checking my phone messages 2 men with large off leash dogs arrived and started towards the location where the chicks had gone. I couldn't handle watching these dogs possibly find the chicks so I explained the situation to the men and asked them not to let their dogs just run free in that location--I was pleasantly surprised that they were agreeable and they took their off leash dogs to another part of the park. Arggh, next came a girl with a horse she brought over to the vegetation near where the chicks had gone as she looked for grass to feed her horse. Fortunately she decided the grass there wasn't sufficient and took the horse elsewhere. Geese, there are a lot of dangers for young sandpiper chicks. I had to leave so hoped the parent was moving the chicks to a less active location. When I returned yesterday the parent had moved further from away from the parking lot and where more people access the river. It called vigorously and came towards me as before. I did not have time to look for the chicks but given the parents behavior I expect they are ok. Same for tonight-parent guarding the area same as yesterday. SeEtta