Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Piping Plovers at Maine's Reid State Park

Piping Plover, a species that is Near Threatened.
On April 11, 2014 I took my first trip to Reid State Park in Sagadahoc County, Maine. I had no idea what I would encounter there but was thrilled to find myself on the open Atlantic with rocky shores and rolling surf. I spent about three hours here exploring the beach and shore and surrounding marshes and woodlands. I was pleased and surprised to discover Piping Plovers on the beach. I took these photos over the course of those three hours with some photos taken as I initially walked down Mile Long Beach and some on my return trip as the clouds rolled in and the temperature dropped as the sunset. It was a glorious day to be at the ocean and I eventually could not resist removing my shoes and running on the wet sand. You can read the whole adventure on Kathie's Birds: An Afternoon at Reid State Park. I had so many good pictures of this amazing little bird that I wanted to share more of them here. 

In the course of my research I discovered that the Piping Plover is a species that is listed as Near Threatened and efforts are underway to help preserve this species and it's habitat before we lose them all together. Piping Plovers are our next to smallest plover with only the 6 1/2" Snowy Plover being smaller. In contrast, the more common and familiar plover, the Killdeer, is 10 1/2". Piping Plovers like to nest in the sand on the beach and many beaches have taken up roping off these areas so people cannot trample their nests, which are a simple depression in the sand. When I returned to Reid State Park a few weeks later I was therefore not surprised to see they had a portion of the beach roped off and signs posted to warn others to keep away from this fragile nesting habitat.

Mile Long Beach at Reid State Park 4-11-14

Maine's rocky shore 4-11-14

Rolling waves at Reid State Park

Sanderlings at the surf line.

But who is this in the foreground?

Little cutie!

Piping Plover is 7 1/4"; Sanderlings in background are 7 1/2"

Two Piping Plovers on the beach.

Piping Plover right profile view.

Piping Plover feeding

Beak in the sand searching for food.

Paler female Piping Plover

Everybody RUN!

Piping Plover with sanderlings-size comparison.

Getting late.

Gray and cold.

Not too cold to eat!

Silver Sunset at Reid State Park 4-11-14


  1. Hi Kathie, beautiful shots of that Piping Plover! What a pretty little bird, hope to see one someday.

  2. Very nice Kathie! So glad you got to see them along the beach. They are pretty cute, aren't they?:)

    1. Chris, that are more than cute! I find it amazing that such small birds can live in such harsh conditions!

  3. Aren't Piping Plovers awesome? they are super cool little peeps