These very still and hazy early mornings of summer are just the thing for deep diving double-crested cormorants. Waterlogged feathers actually help these birds dive deeper for fish, while low tide’s rock clumps assist with their “drip-dry”.

Southside, Fishers Island

From the Field, Field Note Justine Kibbe, June 29, 2019

For the first time ever, I saw 8-10 piping plovers (adult and growing chicks) scurrying around “together” on Sanctuary of Sands.

Fishers Island’s piping plover chicks were born in two separate hatchings on Sanctuary of Sands and near the Race Point Parking area in late May.

In 2014 and 2015, I spotted only a single piping plover at the Big Club Beach and had documented none on the West End. How exciting to see “our” piping plover community expanding!

The New York Times recently reported that Fire Island’s piping plover population has nearly doubled since Hurricane Sandy struck in 2012. Sand and seawater washed over the island during the storm, and the combination of new sand flats and coastal repair increased plover habitat by 50 percent. (Piping plovers like to nest on dry flat sand close to the shoreline.)

From the Field, Field Note Justine Kibbe June 26, 2019

An Indigo Bunting and a White Throated Sparrow pause in their preferred habitat: thickets and bushy wood edges.

Indigo Buntings, abundant songbirds, are sometimes nicknamed “blue canaries”, but are part of the cardinal family. This migratory bird ranges from southern Canada to northern Florida during the breeding season, and from southern Florida to northern South America during the winter.

The White Throated Sparrow is one of the continent’s best-studied and most familiar songbirds. It is found at some season throughout much of North America, south of the tree line and principally east of the Rocky Mountains.

From the Field, Field Note Justine Kibbe June 26, 2019

A band of crows that regularly patrols both ends of Elizabeth Airport runway have discovered “easy pickins”, while mother Killdeer sounds the alarm circling around her clutch of eggs hidden inside tiny potholes of broken pavement.

From the Field, Field Note Justine Kibbe June 12, 2019

I am so happy to have seen a spotted sandpiper pair south of the airport runway on Sanctuary of Sands. A lone sandpiper has arrived every spring since 2015, and now there are a pair of these exquisite shorebirds!

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

The spotted sandpiper occurs across North America. It has richly spotted breeding plumage, a teetering gait, stuttering wingbeats and showy courtship dances.

Female spotted sandpipers arrive at breeding grounds early to establish and defend territory. Females also may mate with four different males at a time, but it is the male that incubates the eggs and cares for the young.

From the Field, Field Note Justine Kibbe June 3, 2019

FIConservancy Naturalist Justine Kibbe reported: “As Fishers Island prepares for a very busy July and August, it’s wonderful to witness the rallying of community to protect our precious wildlife.”

Congratulations Fishers Island! The community is pleased to announce the arrival of four Piping Plover chicks in Sanctuary of Sands on the south side of the airport runway. Please continue to leash all dogs walking in the area.