Whenever my friends & neighbors are packing up to leave their vacations at the shore, I do what I can to hide myself in the ocean and generally not-be-around. I hate goodbyes. Apparently, so do Piping Plover. It is always a sad process, determining when a PIPL, especially the young ones, have fulfilled the part of their destiny that involves Long Beach Island and flown off on the next leg of their chronically difficult journey. You really only know they’ve left us when you’ve looked and looked for them and found nothing but emptiness for too many times in a row.
It’s early to call it, but I have a feeling that Tacey has left the Island and started her long journey to the Bahamas. Perhaps she caught the magic Northwest Wind on Saturday. With her itty-bitties almost grown and ready to fledge, it would not be at all unusual for Tufters to have encouraged her to get a head start. Being somewhat of a martyr, he probably said stuff like “You go on without me… I’ll be all right… don’t worry about Tufters. He’ll just stay here and take care of everything.” But still, he would have meant well, even when he oddly referred to himself in third person, for he obviously loved this sweet little Plover Lady. Remember, I was there when he courted her.
Tacey was a little uptight and never quite fully trusted me or my friendship with Tufters, ever since he did the Courtship Flight over both of us. Still, we are tight and I admire her deeply. She is fearless, diligent, and sweet. She was a obviously great mate for Tufters and they produced four amazing itty-bitties.
I’ll call this Goodbye Tacey. It will make tomorrow morning’s Reading, probably titled “OOOPS! MY BAD. TACEY WAS JUST IN THE DUNE”, that much funnier.