With a huge smile, and an itty bitty tear, I tell you that Beth has left the building. After a few days of Beth’s conspicuous absence from her normal hangouts at Barnegat Light State Park, some science people at Little Beach, NJ reported seeing her and her adorable black & red ring bands. They made careful observations and report she is doing quite well navigating the tricky social scene she faces on her first journey off the Island. It can’t be easy being the daughter of a celebrity PIPL like Tufters. Many of the young Piping Plover she meets on her migration are sure to be insanely jealous and treat her coldly. Others will suck up to her, trying to bask in her glory and mooch off her notoriety.
Whatever the case, we can hope that this is just the first of many future sightings of LBI’s darling Beth as she travels the coast doing what she was born to do: be an Ambassador for her species.
For those who don’t know Little Beach, it is a small barrier island just south of LBI, just across from Holgate. It was once on track to be a similar human paradise to LBI; but plans for a bridge from the mainland were scrapped years ago. Today it is a magnificent coastal wilderness accessible only to scientists and researchers with Federal permits and tons of bug spray. It is also a favorite nighttime hangout for our Snow Owls, Northern Harriers, and Peregrine Falcons. It is just her first stop on a long journey to some yet undecided wintering ground, we hope in the Bahamas, where she might be reunited with Todd Pover when he is down there doing Winter PIPL stuff.
To be honest, it’s good to have her moving on as things were getting a little weird for her here on LBI. When Tufters and Tacey laid their new nest, Beth was still just a teenager. Tufters and Tacey were constantly sending her to her “room”, a small shell field inside the protect dune, so they could get-it-on out front. Tufters & Tacey were still great parents, but with their limited time, Beth was starting to live an isolated life. Towards the end she was spotted repeatedly hanging around the riffraff at the tide pools… young Black Black Gulls and what-not. And if their new eggs hatch, there was a very good chance they might start to treat Beth as a threat, and chase her out off LBI anyway. So we can be glad for her, for Tufters, and for Tacey, that she left on her own.
Beth clearly Outwitted, Outplayed, and Outlasted the many threats she faced trying to grow up on our Beaches. She has earned the title of Sole Survivor. From the very first time we saw her Go Rogue (click to see the very first moment Beth left the nest after birth), we knew this was her Destiny.
And for those who want to remember Beth as we knew her, here are two videos from her most important milestones on LBI: her fledge day, and the very first moment she emerged from the nest to discover she was born to live on the Beach.
Beth’s First Day: Goin’ Rouge: The Movie (from the Reading Goin’ Rogue)
Beth’s Fledge Day: Growing Up Beth (from the Reading Growing Up Beth)