Some good news in an otherwise bleak year: A piping plover born this year on Montrose Beach has been spotted alive and well in Florida.
Chicago Piping Plover, a conservation group focused on protecting the endangered species, confirmed that Nish, a chick born on Montrose Beach earlier this year, successfully landed in Florida. The bird was spotted in Anclote Key State Park, just north of Tampa.
“For all of us who have followed Nish’s growth from an egg on the beach at Montrose in May, to hatching in June, fledging in July, and migrating in August, it’s incredibly gratifying to see this healthy Great Lakes Piping Plover foraging independently,” the conservation group wrote in an online post.
Danny Sauvageau, who describes himself as a “citizen scientist,” snapped the photo of Nish on Dec. 15. He’s been documenting and photographing shorebirds since 2013.
“I use a 400mm camera lens and tons of patience to get the proper angle and lighting to read these tiny numbers,” he said. “So far I have documented 248 different Piping Plover in my area.”
Rose, Nish’s mother, was also spotted in the Sunshine State. Both birds were photographed with tracking bands visible on their legs.
The birds made headlines in June 2019 when a music festival on Montrose Beach threatened to upset the environment where Rose and another plover, Monty, had just laid their eggs. The festival was ultimately canceled, and the endangered birds, whose numbers had been dwindling in the Great Lakes region, were able to hatch their chicks in peace.
This past May, Monty and Rose returned to the beach, and Nish, along with two other chicks, hatched in June.