You may recall that several weeks back we posted a photo of a Killdeer nest with four eggs. I only discovered the nest because each and every time anyone walked past, a Killdeer would call shrilly and drag its wings through the dunes in a dramatic display of “broken wing” trickery. I would often play along and see how far away the Killdeer would take me until one morning I decided to see what it was they were hiding.

Killdeer Broken Wing Distraction Display

Off to the side of the path that leads to the beach, not more than six feet away, was a loose scrape of dirt and sticks, with four perfect Killdeer eggs!

I had no idea when they had been laid, so there was no way of knowing when the chicks would hatch. Each morning on my way to check on the Piping Plovers I’d take a peak, until one day there weren’t any. How sad I thought, and wondered if a predator had eaten the eggs. But the nest had not been disturbed and there were no broken egg shells. A mystery.

The following morning I checked on the Piping Plover nest in the parking lot. It was drizzly but there were two Killdeers near to where the PiPl exclosure is located. I sat in my car watching the adult Killdeers when to my delight and amazement, out tumbled four teeny chicks from under Mama Killdeer. A car makes the perfect blind and for quite some time I photographed and filmed the Killdeer family.

Off and on during that rainy day I stopped by to check on the Killdeers. Because of the weather, the parking lot was virtually empty. Tiny tufted black, brown, and white feather balls atop overly long spindly legs, the baby birds spent all their time zooming here and there, foraging on itsy bitty insects in the grass and gravel.

When not foraging, they would run under Mom or Dad to warm up on that damp drizzly day. Just like Piping Plover chicks, Killdeer chicks are precocial birds and can feed themselves within hours after hatching however, because they are so tiny, they lose body heat relatively quickly. The chicks need the warmth provided by snuggling under Mom and Dad.The next morning it was still drizzling, and the Killdeer family was still in the same location! I watched them for a bit, when a man showed up with his dog. The Killdeer parents went into high alert and did their best distraction displays. The dog chased the adult Killdeers around the parking lot while I spoke with the man. It is the same man who brings his dog to Good Harbor Beach via the footbridge end at the close of the day, after the lifeguards and dog officers have left. This was a tremendous problem last year after the Piping Plovers hatched. Last summer I was too busy preventing his dog from squashing a PiPl chick to get his license plate number, but not this time. The man and his dog left the parking lot.

Moving to the marsh

Shortly after the dog encounter, both Killdeer parents led the chicks into the marsh. To see the chicks navigate over the incline at the edge of the marsh was amazing; it must have seemed like fording a mountain to them. I’ve looked but have not seen the family since. I am hoping that they are thriving and growing in the marshland.

We don’t hear as much about Killdeer Plovers because they are not an endangered species. Killdeers are found in every state of the continental US, Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America. They are the least shorebird-like of shorebirds because they breed and dwell in many types of habitats including grasslands, fields, urban areas, gravel pits, airports, parking lots, athletic fields, and golf courses. Despite their super ability to adapt to human habitats, it is a species in decline.

Killdeers begin courting in our area in March. Although I imagine they have been nesting at Good Harbor Beach for a longer period of time, I only have a record of Killdeers nesting at GHB going back three years and it is yet another important reason as to why humans and pets should not be traipsing through the dunes.

It is difficult to tell the difference between a male and female Killdeer unless they are side-by-side, and even then, still challenging. The male is a bit larger.




Essex Merchants Group is excited to announce its Best of Essex Online Goods and Services Auction. The auction will go live at 7:00am on Monday, June 4th and run until 10:00pm on Monday, June 18th, 2018.

Participants will have the opportunity to bid on over 100 items donated by Essex businesses, organizations and friends. Items include gift certificates from the town’s restaurants and antique shops, fine art, specialty gift baskets, landscaping services, concert tickets and more. Bid on a clambake for four, cruises and kayak tours on the Essex River, Herrmann’s Royal Lipizzan Stallion tickets or a therapeutic massage!

Other highlights items up for bid are a pearl necklace and earrings by N. Larson Jewelry Design, landscape paintings by local artists, Robert and Patricia Hanlon, a Crab Cake and Caesar Salad Dinner for 20 people from Timothy Hopkins Catering and two opportunities to win Red Sox tickets.

The auction opens June 4th at this link: www.essexmerchantsgroup.schoolauction.net/auction2018

Explore Summer at Harborlight

If you are looking for something for your 1st-7th grade student to do this summer, consider looking at the summer programs Harborlight has to offer on and out of its Beverly campus.

Explore Arts and Adventure at Harborlight!   Biking, The Amazing Race, Fishing, Tasty Adventures, Crafts, Just Desserts, Showtime!, By Land and Sea water sports, and much more!

Grades 1st-7th can sign up for one week….or the entire summer!  P/K and Kindergarten students can sign up for the month of July and/or August.

Read all descriptions and see pricing below.

CLICK HERE to Learn More

Click HERE to Apply and Enroll

Have questions about Elementary Summer programs?  email Katie Oberlander @ koberlander@harborlight.net

Have questions about P/K or Kindergarten Summer programs? email Jamie Oakley @ joakley@harborlight.net

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Indoor Yard Sale Fundraiser

Cape Ann Community

YardSale_CAAA2018Join Cape Ann Animal Aid at the Magnolia Library & Community Center on Saturday, June 16th between 9am and 2pm for a giant indoor yard sale.

Donations of items for the yard sale are welcome and will be accepted at the Magnolia Library & Community Center on Wednesday, June 13th or Thursday, June 14th from 2pm to 7pm. Come out to get some deals and do some good, helping raise money for homeless animals in need.

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Enter Art Haven’s Contest to Win a Free Week of Summer Classes!

Cape Ann Community

Raffle_01_OPEnter for a chance to win a prize worth $160 when you subscribe to our mailing list.


New subscribers will be automatically entered in our raffle, which runs from NOW until July 1. The winner will be notified  by email.

All summer classes are eligible. Choose a week for kids grades 1-5, our week long Middle School programs or $160 towards Art Life 101–our NEW pre-college program for High School Students.

Don’t miss out on a week of fun in the studio this summer!

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