Two Piping Plover fledglings and adults from Clear Lake, June 17, 1902 as collected by J.E. Wallace. Clear Lake is now part of Valentine NWR. Specimens at the University of Nebraska State Museum.
The Piping Plover is nesting again - after a 70 year hiatus - at Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
"A pair of plovers are nesting on an island in Goose Lake," said Neil Powers, manager of the refuge in the western Sandhills. "Early reports stated that there were two nests and numerous adults. However, our wildlife biologist has confirmed one nest with four eggs, and two adult" Piping Plover on Friday, June 15.
Six plovers and two active nests were reported for June 9th on the refuge, by a visiting birder.
The record of breeding is the first for the refuge since a small group of Piping Plover, including young, were noted during mid-June 1937.
Islands where the plover are nesting were "reconstructed beginning in the fall of 2005 and were completed last year." Powers said. "In addition to the plovers, over 50 avocet pairs are also calling the islands home."
The islands were reconstructed using a low-ground-pressure bulldozer which simply pushed material from the lake bottom into an island already present,” he explained. “The two islands comprise about 2.5 acres, and are designed to provide secure nesting and loafing sites for migratory birds.”
"Frequently, our management efforts are a conglomeration of partnerships involving the assistance of neighboring cattle producers and other entities," added Powers. "It's very rewarding to see all steps in the planning process come together to complete a project and even more so when these management activities attract species of special concern."
In 1993-94, these plover were noted at Bean Lake, adjacent to the west side of the refuge. A pair was present, with no specific documentation of breeding, though birds were present during the proper time.
A number of Piping Plover are typically resident at Lake McConaughy each season, with a small chick seen June 3, by a Nebraska birder.
The species is a regular migrant in the sandhills region, with a few birds occasionally noted especially at lakes with barren, sandy shores. The belted subspecies is usually observed.
The Piping Plover is classified as a threatened species by wildlife agencies.
Great Plains Piping Plover.