Tufters’ meteoric rise to fame is almost hard to comprehend. From his humble beginnings at Barnegat Light State Park, to his becoming widely regarded here in New Jersey as “The Lord Of Light”, Tufters has just kept quietly and humbly slugging away on LBI over the years, determined to be the Piping Plover who choses to live among us and share the beach, without ever wavering. And in doing so he has shown us that the Road To 200 is not a dream, but a choice. In making his choice to share the beach with us each season, he throws down a challenge for us to do the same. Young Piping Plover like Dobby, Myrtle, Jack, and Elizabeth are responding to the great beacon of Hope he has been shining from the Lighthouse for all these years and have come to LBI to follow his itty bitty tracks down the path he is blazing into an uncertain future for all of us.
There can be no doubt. It is a simple matter of fact that Tufters is now the most well known Piping Plover on the planet.
Indeed our summers here grow just a little bit darker when it becomes clear Tufters has left the Island for the winter, as it has now. But we can be glad knowing he will be shining his light across the entire flyway, bringing hope to PIPL and people as far as his itty bitty wings might take him.
To the point, Tufters has just been spotted on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina. The details are sketchy, but as I understand it, once news of his presence at a popular werming spot hit birding communities on Facebook (TM) and across the web, the ferries and planes that take visitors to this small, inaccessible barrier Island became completely booked with birders, photographers, and just plain ol’ fan boys and fan girls eager to catch a glimpse of the most well know Piping Plover on the Planet: our own ‘lil Tuffies.
But don’t book your plane tickets just yet. It appears Tufters was just stopping through on his tour to wherever it is he spends the winter in quiet and solitude. He has been doggedly dodging even our best scientists for years, including the huge teams who searched even the most remote Bahamian Islands during the Piping Plover Census last winter looking for this magnificent animal.
I suppose, at least for now, we will just have to accept that winter is “Tufters’ Time.” He most certainly deserves it.
But having said that, anyone who can provide Readings From The Northside with a confirmed sighting of Tufters, the Most World Famous Piping Plover In The World, between now and his return to LBI next Spring gets a free copy of my own, very private, never-worn-in-public, incredibly ridiculous t-shirt shown above: “Paparazzi PIPL”; my most cherished portrait of Tufters. You can have it in long sleeve, short sleeve, tank top, mens, ladies…. your call.
Tufters’ band combo is Green, Yellow, Red, Orange.
Happy hunting. Godspeed Tufters.