Piping Plover Flight Dance

Eclipse Day was a dream day filming wildlife on Cape Ann. I did the usual early morning stops at my “migrations stations,” but because I had taken the afternoon off to see the eclipse, I got to film in the afternoon, too, which I don’t often get a chance to do. First stop was Good Harbor Beach to see a beautiful subdued and rosy-hued sunrise.

The Tree Swallows were everywhere, in dunes, on the beaches, lined up on telephone lines, in meadows, and marsh. I filmed and photographed that hullabaloo for a bit, along with a dozen other species of migrating shorebirds and songbirds; there are simply too many images for one post. I’ll share these migration photos in the upcoming days.

Tree Swallows Biting and Fighting

The most wonderful of all was coming upon a tiny flock of Piping Plovers. Initially I thought only two, then a third joined the scene, and then a fourth!

One was definitely a juvenile, about the same age as would be our Little Chick. The PiPl were bathing, grooming, and foraging in the intertidal zone while also being dive-bombed by the Tree Swallows. This is behavior that I filmed last year as well. Tree swallows, although beautiful, are the fightenist little tuffies you’ll ever see. They’ll fly straight at other birds, biting one of their own kind, Barn Swallows, and plovers alike.

PiPl bath time

The PiPl that looked just like Little Chick also did the funny flight take-off dance that we all observed of LC. He flew around in a circle, backwards and forwards, spreading and unspreading his wings, and hopping up and down. It’s very comical and I can’t wait to share the film footage and storybook. Anyway, the little traveler I encountered on Eclipse Day was doing the PiPlover flight jig for an extended period of time.

Doing the Jig!

I stayed to watch the Plovers for a bit longer and then finished walking the length of the beach. On my return walk I was surprised from a quiet reverie to hear a flock of Plovers piping. I looked up and before I could turn my movie camera back on, a group of a dozen Piping Plovers flew past. Happy Day!

Tree Swallows Massing
Eclipse Day Sunrise Good Harbor Beach

 Backlogged with wildlife photos, more to come. Some wonderful surprises!


  1. Hello Kim..your shots of Good Harbor Beach and the Plovers.We are outstanding. I especially love the Eclipse Day sunrise! Any chance you’d be interested in selling a print of that? We have a special room in our house that is our “Gloucester Room” mainly because Good Harbor Beach and Wingershiek Beach are very sentimental to us! Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures with us all!


    1. Hi Andrea, Yes I would be happy to, thank you. I have several request for PiPl photos and I am just very behind on getting this organized. My email address is and I have your email from the comment. Thank you again for your interest, I imagine your “Gloucester Room” is beautiful!


  2. Hi Kim, do you think it really might be … ?? The four plovers have been scoping Cape Ann, have not yet migrated south, and returned on Eclipse Day to GHB? What a cool story. Thanks for your patience, and all your gorgeous photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Nancy, without tagging, we have no way of knowing for sure, but I do think it was wonderful to see this tiny flock and very auspicious that it happened on Eclipse Day. Yesterday there were three at Wingaersheek, and the day before, two, but that one in the group of four looked the most like Little Chick.


  3. Hi Kim, Thanks for the Little Chick update. Although I was happy that he flew off with his friends as he should, I have missed your daily posts of his progress. Your great photos and comments gave him a persona that was very endearing. This has surely increased awareness of the need to protect the plovers. But it made my day to think he’s still around GHB!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Deb for your kind comments. His story was a very special one, of survival and of a community coming together to help. I am hoping to publish his story as children’s book, an ancillary project of the documentary. 🙂


  4. Great story and photos Kim. I was thinking about you when kayaking Sunday. There were dozens of swallows by the marsh in Jones River, and me without a camera. :O We sat and watched them for awhile as they flew, diving all around us. The sight and sound would have been fun to capture on film.

    Liked by 1 person

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