I am happy to report a record total from this year's midwinter South
Carolina Piping Plover Census. The census took place from February
Census teams found 125 Piping Plovers along the SC coast, with an
additional 10 birds that were known to be present. These additional 10
birds were observed soon before and soon after the survey window, but
mundane issues of tide and people's schedules prevented reaching them
(by boat) during the official census window.
In addition to Piping Plovers, census participants counted 11 wintering
Wilson's Plovers and 760 Red Knots.
This year's Piping Plover totals comprised the third record-setting
effort in a row in South Carolina. During the 2007 census, teams found
a record (at the time) 114 Piping Plovers on the SC coast. This total
follows a then-record 100 PIPL found during the 2006 International
Piping Plover Census (which occurs every 5 years).
So it would seem that the increased local focus on wise beach
management, public education + awareness programs and other efforts are
yielding success. But mild recent winters (global warming) may also be
boosting winter survivorship...
Whatever the reasons, this positive trend is welcome information among
the gloomy shorebird news one hears so much of these days.
Cape Romain Bird Observatory