Results of the Nonquitt Coastal Waterbird Season

On a cloudy day in early April, DNRT volunteers and staff placed symbolic fencing on Nonquitt beach and within a week, two plovers had claimed the site as their own. Once again, this pair’s territory spanned the entire beach, despite a second pair attempting to stake claim to the eastern point. The first pair would not stand for any competition and drove the second pair away. Our pair’s first nest attempt was unsuccessful, with suspected predation due to a resident coyote or fox, as tracks were seen frequently throughout the season. In response, the plovers changed up their strategy and moved to the western end of the beach, close to the inlet. Here, they successfully hatched and raised four chicks to fledge age. As the chicks grew, they could be seen along the entire beach with their loud and protective parents close by. This is the third year in a row of successful nesting at Nonquitt, fledging a total of eleven chicks in three years!


Common tern feeding a fledgling. Photo by John Van de Graaff

Another species that called Nonquitt home this year was the common tern. Common terns are seabirds that feed on small fish and nest on coastal rocky outcrops. You’ll know you are looking at a common tern when you see a medium-sized grey and white bird with a forked tail and orange beak. This year these birds set up a small colony on the northern-most rock offshore. Our monitors carefully kayaked to the rock and found there were two active nests with two eggs and possibly a third on the way.