Piping Plovers at Good Harbor Beach – Fenced Off Area

For Immediate Release from Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken

Public Works in conjunction with our local Conservation Commission, MA Dept of Wildlife and Fisheries and Mass Audubon have been following the activities of Piping Plovers on Good Harbor Beach for the past 4 weeks. The birds have shown signs of nesting activities in this area.

On a recommendation of the state we have fenced off an area approximately 200 feet by 200 feet – southwest of board walk number 3. This area starts at the base of the dunes and extends to the high tide rack or water line. This area is to be off llimits to all humans as well as any domestic pets. These birds are listed under the State and Federal Endangered Species Acts and are granted special protection.

We will continue to work with all agencies to provide the support they need to let nature take its course. We ask for the support of the general public to adhere to the regulations set forth. Any questions should be directed to the Department of Recreation and Conservation (DCR) and/or Mass Audubon.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.


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A little background information from Dave Rimmer, Director of Land Stewardship Greenbelt

There are clearly at least 2 pairs of Piping Plovers scoping out the upper beach for nesting. But no nests with eggs yet. Someone will get back to check the site Mon/Tue next week. If we find a nest that will trigger the following:
  • The nest site will be surrounded by a single strand fence with a few signs staying it is a RESTRICTED AREA. Usually on beaches like GHB, we try to keep this fencing to a minimum, but if it appears the birds are still being disturbed after the fence is in place, it may need to be expanded to provide an additional buffer.
  • Information will be provided to help beach staff understand Piping Plovers so they can communicate on some level why the area has restricted access.
Piping Plover Quick Facts:
  • they are a shorebird that is on the US Endangers Species List as a threatened species
  • they nest right on the sand, laying 4 light brown speckled eggs.
  • it takes them about 4 weeks to incubate and hatch the eggs.
  • Chicks are precocious and leave the nest immediately to begin foraging on the own for food. They may stay within fenced area for first day or so but eventually they will wander beyond the fence either along the high beach or down to the waters edge. They are extremely vulnerable during this time, so beach scraping may need to be curtailed. In addition, ATVs driving on the beach will need to be extremely careful.
  • chick fledge (fly) in about 25 days
  • So total time from egg laying to chicks fledging is about 8 weeks.
As I mentioned, the US Fish and Wildlife Service administers the US Endangered Species Act and enforce laws related to the “take” of listed species, inadvertent or deliberate. So during the chick phase, a high level of sensitivity it required.
It means you have a healthy well managed beach if you are attracting Piping Plovers. That’s the good news. Having Piping Plovers nesting on any beach requires some change, which I can be challenging. Drew and I (and Erik Amati from MADFW) stand at the ready to help in any way we can to make this work. If we find a nest next week we will let you know immediately. And from there, we just need to figure it out. Every beach is different.
Ken – Let’s coordinate your efforts. It will be a big help for you to go to the site from time to time to monitor Piping Plover activity.
Thanks all,
Dave Rimmer
Director of Land Stewardship
Greenbelt | Essex County’s Land Trust
82 Eastern Avenue
Essex, MA 01929
(978) 768-7241 x14



Yet another bird that was nearly hunted to extinction for its beautiful feathers, as of 2012 when the most recent study was concluded, there were only 3,600 breeding Piping Plovers along the Atlantic Coast.

piping-plover-on-nestPiping Plover’s are a softy colored, mostly tan and white, pint-sized shorebird and like their nests and eggs, exquisitely camouflage with colors of sand and pebbles. This also makes them highly vulnerable to disturbances by humans; even if when people are trying to avoid their nesting sites, it is very easy to unwittingly crush eggs and chicks.

Piping Plovers have been observed on Good Harbor Beach this spring and could quite possibly nest here. The Gloucester DPW, working in conjunction with the Conservation Commission, MA Department of Wildlife, and Mass Audubon have cordoned off a roughly 200 feet by 200 feet area between the GHB bridge and boardwalk number three (the large rock that was exposed several storms ago lies within the area).

This area of the beach may be closed off for as long as eight weeks, possibly longer. If the nest is disturbed, the Piping Plovers will abandon the first and create a new nest, which will extend the time of beach closure.

It is to everyone’s benefit, plover and people alike, to heed the signs and to please keep dogs on leash at all times.

Are dogs allowed on the beach at this time of year?




You can see from the photos of different Piping Plover nests from several regions of the country how perfectly the pebble-lined nests and babies meld with their surroundings–a good thing to keep them safe from predators, but not such a good plan for nests in well-trafficked areas.

The male selects the nesting site, defending it from other males. He scrapes a nest in the sand and both the male and female toss stones and bits of shell into the depression. Both the male and female incubate the eggs. It takes about 25 days to incubate the eggs and another three to four weeks for the chicks to fledge.


Like the Killdeer, Piping Plovers cleverly display a broken wing, a trick designed to distract predators from their nests and babies. Both Killdeers and Piping Plovers are in the same family, Charadriidae. The Piping Plover’s scientific name, Charadrius melodus, and common name, comes from its lovely melodic piping bird song.






Matt Harding GloucesterSharon Bo Abrams and Martin Del Vecchio

Thanks to Martin Del Vecchio for organizing the wonderfully fun Where the Heck is Matt Harding Gloucester event. Martin remarked that he was worried only a few folks would show up to dance or possibly the reverse and too many, but there was just exactly the right amount!

Work kept me longer than had hoped and I only caught the after party, which was also lots of fun. From fans young and old, Matt was inundated with requests for autographs, and more dancing, and he graciously accommodated all.

Martin will be sharing what promises to be an awesome drone video of the event. Stay tuned!Matt Harding Gloucester -1 copyright Kim Smith

Matt Harding Gloucester -2 copyright Kim SmithMatt Harding Gloucester -5 copyright Kim SmithMatt Harding Gloucester -3 copyright Kim Smith

The haul today at Motif #1 Day in Rockport

Cake Ann and Seaview
Got the dessert at Cake Ann and some Salsa from Seaview. Stopped by Seaview to pick up some eggs.
Bearskin was hoppin’
Rubber Duck also did not write down the name of this shop. Bearskin Neck. Soapy bare skin.
Didn't catch the name of the store. You have to come to Bearskin Neck to see the pig. "Some Pig"
Didn’t catch the name of the store. You have to come to Bearskin Neck to see the pig. “Some Pig”

Sawyer Free Library Week of May 22, 2016

More Cape Ann Community News-


Summer is coming! Did you know you can get discount coupons for many museums from the Sawyer Free Library?

museumpassbannerClick here for details and to reserve the coupons online from the comfort of your home, office, or phone! You just need a library card. If you don’t have one, come in and get one soon!

Please consider casting a vote for Sawyer Free Library in the BankGloucester “Banking For The Community” Program: Here’s a handy link!  You can vote for 3 organizations, so please give us one vote and pick 2 more worthy causes! Thanks!


~The annual book sale is going on Friday and Saturday May 19 & 20! Lots of awesome books at awesome prices! Come in and look around!

We will be closed on Monday May 30 in observance of Memorial Day. Have a great weekend!


Our Summer hours will begin on Tuesday May 31. The only…

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I’ve been a little jealous…

Last year I traveled to the Netherlands for my birthday and as a gift I received 50 tulip bulbs that I couldn’t wait to get into the ground and see them bloom this spring.   I’ve been a little jealous of everyone’s beautiful tulips coming up while I on the other hand have been fending away rabbits and rodents from eating my precious bulbs!!   FINALLY my tendered bulbs are blooming and although they are only a handful, seeing them brings me back to the tulip fields and Keukenhof Gardens!   There’s only a few varieties open but still 3 or 4 to go!   Loving my late bloomers!   (pardon the iPhone pics!)