Siesta Key Weekly Shorebird Update – May 17

May 17  —

Hey everybody!
I hope everyone is staying safe and enjoying the gorgeous weather this weekend 🙂
Early this week I got a call from a condo saying that a resident found eggs on the beach and lo and behold it was a 3 egg Snowy Plover nest! I quickly got out to post it and so far the pair is still doing well, they were still seen tending to the nest as of this morning. Shockingly, a turtle crawled through this enclosure on Thursday and ended up missing the nest by a few feet – lucky plovers! According to Mote, the turtle was likely disoriented by lights from the surrounding area. Please remember to keep lights off during turtle nesting season!! Gotta do what we can to help the birds and the turtles!
^Snowy Plover pair tending to their nest (left) and turtle tracks seen from the edge of the plovers nesting enclosure (right – photo by Siesta resident, Dick Miles)
The Least Terns continue to do well, at least a dozen chicks have hatched! With over 100 nests, I expect we will have a lot of babies in the next month! These chicks are highly mobile right after hatching and will wander out of the posted area; often times chicks will walk out toward the water in search of a place to cool down. For this reason it is always important to keep a close eye out and walk cautiously around nesting enclosures with chicks.
^some more of the first Least Tern chicks to hatch this season
The Skimmers also started to lay eggs this week!! The colony has around 620 adults so far and around 15 nests. There are still many birds courting and copulating and the peak of nesting is probably still several weeks away. I am hopeful that, when the beach reopens, they won’t deal with too much disturbance. For now, North Lido beach remains closed and the birds have the space to rest and nest undisturbed. 
^A Black Skimmer shading its egg (left) and the skimmer colony within the nesting enclosure (right).
Happy Sunday everyone!

Kylie Wilson

Program Coordinator
Bird Monitoring & Stewardship
(941) 266 – 5407

Audubon Florida, Sarasota, FL