Break-through on Sand Dollar

This weekend Gulf-side stewards will find that Sand Dollar looks a little different than it did in the past. There was a big storm on August 11 that created a break-through on Sand Dollar at the location of the largest Black Skimmer colony. Fortunately, most of the skimmers and Least Terns were finished nesting for the season, so the weather and erosion will have less of an impact on overall reproductive success this season.

However, as you can see, these birds nest in precarious habitat. It’s the way they function, and they are adapted for it, but considering the challenges they face from the elements, any aid humans can give them helps increase each pair’s chances of successfully fledging a chick.

This photo was taken on August 17 by Mary Nelson, the Turtle Lady, who is on the beach every day during turtle season. She also keeps an eye on birds and other goings-on, including erosion, as you can see!

Sand Dollar Island at the site of the largest Black Skimmer colony on August 17. Photo by  Mary Nelson.

The best advice I can give to Gulf stewards this weekend is to walk out and look for any birds showing signs of nesting activity, whether sitting birds or birds with chicks. If you have been out and haven’t seen any–or if you don’t see any this coming weekend–be sure to include that in your report to Jane. It will help us to know when we can safely declare the 2010 nesting season concluded. Thanks and enjoy the changing beach!

–Lindsay

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About Collier County Shorebird Stewards

The Collier County Shorebird Partnership was formed in 2010 and has begun a steward program to help protect beach-nesting birds by informing beach-goers about these interesting animals and how they can help them nest successfully.
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