Nesting plovers bring restricted access

April 02, 1995|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,Sun Staff Writer

Each year, the piping plover makes its way back to pockets of shoreline along Maryland's Atlantic Coast, where the small, stocky bird nests on the beach.

Since 1986, the piping plover has been listed as a threatened species. and again public access to certain state and federal lands at the shore will be restricted during the bird's nesting season.

At Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, beach closures will be in effect through Aug. 31, including the lower 2.5 miles of Assateague Island, the Wild Beach area toward the northern end of the island and refuge lands on Assawoman and Metompkin islands.

Maryland's Department of Natural Resources yesterday closed Skimmers Island and about two miles of Assateague Island north of the Route 611 bridge to boating activity to allow shorebirds to nest undisturbed. The closures will remain in effect until Sept. 15.

"This action is designed to benefit breeding populations of piping plovers, royal terns, gull-billed terns and black skimmers by reducing egg and chick mortality resulting from human disturbance," said DNR secretary John R. Griffin.

John D. Schroer, manager of Chincoteague NWR, said that last year 25 nesting pairs of piping plovers successfully raised 53 of their offspring on Assateague Island and that 12 pairs raised 13 chicks on Assawoman Island.

The total Atlantic Coast nesting population of piping plovers is estimated at 1,150 breeding pairs.

Big game hunting

Floyd Price, a waterfowl and deer hunting outfitter on the Eastern Shore for 40 years, has branched out into big-game hunting in Montana and is booking for the 1995 season. Game on Price's 10-square mile ranch near Roundup include antelope and mule deer. For information, call (410) 778-6421 or (410) 778-1965.

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