It has been more than a moon since I last saw Ginger & Blynken at Holgate. The last known photo of the Miracle Pair above demonstrates their bond as they bathed together sweetly at Sunrise, shortly before disappearing, perhaps forever, into a great big world.
In the end, Blynken did make a Good Choice. He chose Ginger. Perhaps it was their similar age, or their similar background. Whatever the case, the two were inseparable at Holgate, most likely their very first stop away from home on the their very first mysterious migration into the great unknown. And though it is not mating season, but rather migration, it still was getting all Blue Lagoon up in there.
The Tale of Ginken is a true story. While some small details had to be assumed, and some modestly massaged, and the material dictated that it should be presented in the most ridiculous and annoying fashion one could imagine, the facts remain true.
Bynken & Wynken survived a difficult renest by Tufters & Tacey. It was truly a miracle. And Houdini & Bess had an even more difficult time with theirs, the unbelievable second renest in New Jersey this Summer. They suffered immensely (as did the CWFNJ staff) when the Malibu Dog Park on the border of their habitat closed for a week, and so the disappointed dog owners decided to use the Endangered Species Area as their dog’s playground without hesitation or remorse. Ginger’s survival was truly a Miracle. None of this would have had a chance at a happy ending were it not for the kindness & extreme dedication of the true heroes featured in this story: Todd, Emily, Michelle, David, Sam, Laura, and others who escaped the Ginken Treatment including Alf, Jason, and Pam.
But perhaps most true and improbable of all is the fact that I actually saw Blynken & Ginger hanging out together at Holgate this Fall. To have these two youngsters, whose very different childhoods I knew so well, livin’ the dream with me on the Wild Beach was astonishing and fun to an extreme degree.
A year ago we would have just assumed these were two random Piping Plover. But thanks to the amazing banding project this Summer led by Michelle & Emily, we instead know with extreme certainty that these two were our very own Beach Babies: Blynken & Ginger. While the purpose of the banding study was related to chick mortality on the nesting grounds, we now all get the long term benefits of knowing who these precious local babies are for the rest of their sweet lives, thanks to the colorful bands left on their legs. These animals are locals. They are our neighbors. And they can be our friends when we share the beach together. For me, that possibility starts when I stop thinking of them as just “animals” and start recognizing them as actual individuals that live rich lives here on the Island right along side of us.
A year ago, we might have only wondered “what ever happened to them?” But now we have a chance to actually know as we all plow together into an uncertain future. In fact, many of New Jersey’s PIPL lovingly banded by Michelle & Emily this Summer are already being spotted in and around the Bahamas, having safely arrived at their Wintering Grounds. And our understanding will only continue to grow this Winter as the 2016 Piping Plover Census takes place in the Bahamas. Todd, Emily, Michelle, and others from team New Jersey will be going to look for our local PIPL.
Alls I can say is, they better find Tufters.
So what is the real ending to Ginken: A True Tale? Who knows?! Thankfully, we have a good chance of actually knowing for the first time in many, many years thank to the hard work of Emiliy Heiser & Michelle Stantial and all of NJ’s Beach Nesting Bird Staff.
Godspeed Blynken. Godspeed Ginger. (And you too little Wynken!)