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PIPL Male by Log SB

As a special HFBF event last year, Stewart Nutt led a group to the nesting area(s) of the endangered Piping Plovers. There, they observed the Plovers’ behaviors as Stewart talked about their courtship, feeding, life history, territorial displays.

He also explained about the local attempts to protect this delicate species. On May 23, May 24 and on May 28, Stewart is once again leading 3 separate events he calls ‘Wouldn’t it be Ploverly’ to nesting sites to observe the birds doing what they do naturally.

If you’re a ‘Plover Lover’ and sincerely want to do your share to help look after these incredible birds the Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry has a job for you.

Piping Plover Employment Opportunities

Image 32014 marked the eighth year the endangered shorebird, the Piping Plover successfully nested on Ontario’s side of Lake Huron after a 30-year absence. A pair of adult Piping Plover successfully fledged four chicks on Port Elgin’s beach. Unfortunately, a record four pair at Sauble Beach experienced nest washouts, extreme weather and chick predation throughout the breeding season and were unsuccessful in seeing any chicks fledge. However, another nine chicks fledged at Wasaga Beach for a modest total of 13 for all of Ontario. Throughout this recovery process, volunteer monitors continued to play an important role in public education and contributing valuable monitoring data on a daily basis.

Website & Social Media Whiz

In preparation for the 2015 breeding season, the website, needs structural fine-tuning and content refreshment. In addition, Facebook and Twitter accounts need to be established and aligned with the website. An honorarium will be provided for a web-savvy individual working with a volunteer committee to craft these enhancements prior to February 1, 2015. This work is intended to start as soon as possible and resumes will be received and considered on a perpetual basis until the ideal candidate is secured.

Coordinator of Volunteer Monitors

Starting in April 2015, a “dream” contract position will be available for a “can-do” individual with an interest in species at risk, birding and the coordination of volunteer monitors. This position requires a 20-week, part-time, 7-day/week involvement starting mid-April with an “on the beach” presence especially during long weekends – good weather or bad. Ideally, the successful candidate will live near Sauble Beach and have reliable mobility to work occasionally with volunteers on-site from Sauble Beach to Oliphant. Key requirements include an ability to schedule/manage volunteers, work in harmony with the MNRF field biologist, liaise with local government and business representatives, support an interim and final report and be an effective communicator in person, over the phone and via social media. Internet access and cell phone is required. The position will be reimbursed at a competitive rate for part-time contract work. Resumés should be received by February 27, 2015.

So when Stew again leads folks to the sites, you’ll be there to welcome them. And ‘Wouldn’t that be ‘Ploverly’.

Candidates should convey their interest to:

Piping Plover Employment Opportunities,

Stewardship Grey Bruce,

c/o Craig Todd,

Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry,

Midhurst District / Owen Sound Field Office,

1450 7th Ave. E. Owen Sound, ON

N4K 2Z1

email: fax:  519-372-3305 or phone:  519-371-8465


The full HURON FRINGE BIRDING FESTIVAL PROGRAM will be available on-line January 15th 2015 on the Friends of MacGregor website at: and right here on this Blog 

 Registration starts on February 1st 2015 at: 

Recognized as One of Ontario's Top 100 Festivals

Recognized as One of Ontario’s Top 100 Festivals

Be sure to mark your calendars with next year’s dates – 22nd May to 25th May and 28th May to 31st May 2015.

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PIPL Male by Log SB

 “Piping Plovers at Sauble Beach and Oliphant.”

A few years ago, that headline appeared in the Saugeen Times of Saugeen Shores. To area birders this was significant news. To Stew Nutt of Southampton it was especially significant. He stated, “We are celebrating the Piping Plover’s return to the Canadian shores of Lake Huron”. Their presence so close to home marked the beginning of a quest by Stew to lead in the efforts to see that the Plover’s return would become an annual event, helping to secure their survival. Under that headline came an article by author and birding expert Mick Pickup that went on to describe Stew’s involvement with the plovers.

Image 6Volunteers with guidance from Stew Nutt of Southampton have undertaken to monitor the birds on a daily basis at both sites. Their duties are to protect the birds from predation, human disturbance, educate beach visitors about the status of the birds and to cooperate with the municipality, local residents and cottagers, MNR and CWS in protecting the birds and their habitat. From the middle of May to the beginning of August, many volunteers have generously donated their time to this project…

To which Stew has commented: StewSometimes, we are presented with unique opportunities that can change our lives. For me this opportunity came in the summer of 2007 when the endangered Piping Plovers arrived and established a nest at Sauble Beach. These birds build their nests, mere scrapes in the sand, on the beach close to the shoreline and usually in the same area. This becomes their habitat for feeding, nesting and raising young. Such habitats are mostly inhospitable for survival as many beach areas are used for beach and water-based recreation. They are also of course used for development.  As such Piping Plovers are struggling to survive. They are forced to battle the elements, human encroachment, and many predators. As a special event at this year’s Huron Fringe Birding Festival I invite you to join me as we travel to the nesting area(s) at Sauble Beach and observe the plovers’ behaviors including: courtship, feeding, life history, territorial displays and fierce protection will be observed and/or explained as well as local attempts to protect this delicate species. Be a ‘Plover Lover’! Sign up for A17 – 7:30 AM – SATURDAY, MAY 24 – or B23 – 1:30 PM – SATURDAY, MAY 31 – THE TALE OF THE PIPING PLOVER and experience the unique, fragile world of these special birds and what is being done to help this species survive.

PIPL Female Brooding 1 SB

For up-to-date information on the progress of the Piping Plovers at Sauble Beach click on:

Image 3

Stewart Nutt is a retired educator and local naturalist who led the Piping Plover recovery project for five years. His Piping Plover knowledge was gained through countless hours of both personal and project participant observations, along with current information from visiting longer established projects in Michigan, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

PIPL  Chick Trying to Fly


Take a up-close look at the what you can expect to experience at this year’s Huron Fringe Birding Festival click on:

Recognized as One of Ontario's Top 100 Festivals

 One of Ontario’s Top 100 Festivals