The Piping Plovers that nest at “B” Lot and other oceanside beaches at Sandy Hook do so under almost ideal conditions, at least until Memorial Day Weekend, when beachgoers arrive.
Before then, they court, bond and set up housekeeping in relative isolation. Clamshells and pebbles populate the landscape; bits of driftwood and beachgrass offer them cover.
Save the occasional wayward Lab that can’t resist a dip in their private ocean.
(Dogs are not allowed on oceanside beaches during nesting season. Many people ignore this rule.)
The northernmost tip of Sandy Hook, by contrast, is like another world… beachgoers rarely wander this far; the beach outside the plovers’ protected nesting area is littered with debris…
Piping Plovers, Least Terns, Skimmers, Oystercatchers… they all nest here, in privacy, in the middle of the garbage that washes, butt up, on their doorstep.
Far above the tide line, they carve out their nest scrapes among the scattered wrack and shells; they shelter their young in the shadow of discarded tv sets…
rusted oxygen(?) tanks…
This last is kinda gross – don’t look!
and decomposing dogs washed ashore from God-knows-where.
(I never did find any Plovers here… but the 8-10 reported recently had plenty of places to hide!)
I think we owe them better; I believe the cost of privacy for endangered and threatened species shouldn’t be as high as this!
Every bit of garbage ends up somewhere… we all know this. A lot of NYC trash ends up at Sandy Hook. This needn’t be so.
Clean Ocean Action sponsors regular beach sweeps… the next at Sandy Hook is scheduled for April 30, 2011!
(Our newly returned Osprey will thank you for a more beautiful landscape over which to hunt flounder!)
Piping Plovers deserve at least as clean a beach as we expect for ourselves, don’t you think?