Don’t Mess With Vampires Either

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Most people think the Piping Plover chicks are the most adorable thing you will see running around our beaches, but the scientists are actually pretty adorable too. And maybe even more rare.
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It’s one of the happiest, and most efficient, mornings of the summer. Right after Steph & Larry’s nest hatched, Jack and Dracula’s nest hatches too. A quick walk down the beach and Michelle & Dennis are ready to weigh, measure, and band the itty-bitty Pirate Vampires. As Michelle attaches a radio transmitter to the oldest, Vladislav, something catches her eye.
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It’s a little human doodle who is curious about the birds. Brian & Jess from Rutgers give him a quick peek at the younger two who are awaiting their banding, Viago & Deacon. I think they just made a beach bum for life. And one who will value the wild treasures it is hiding.
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Viago sits next to Ann’s Great White Shark’s Tooth. Probably the strangest and most epic size comparison of all time. Now little vampires, THAT’s the tooth you want if you enjoy sucking blood.

For those of you with decent math skills, that’s an astounding 5 Pairs of Piping Plover at Barnegat Light this year, with an unbelievable 17 babies hatched.

Tufters & Tacey. Mustache BYLL & Myrtle. Smalls & Mercedes. Jack & Drac. Steph & Larry.

Earl Grey, Jasmine, Hibiscus, and lil’ Oolong; Cinnamon Bun, Flapjack, and lil’ Cyclops; Wendy Peffercorn, Yeah Yeah, and The Beast; Small Wonder, Shore Magic, Barney Light, and Jean. And now, Vladislav, Viago, and Deacon.

This the Recovery, in your face. Readings From The Northside has been yammering on for years about the hard work that good people like Todd Pover, Emily Heiser, Christina “Kashi” Davis, Michelle Stantial, and Rebecca Linhart have been doing at Barnegat Light. These successes are really the result of all that work.

I confess that I was raised by the old timers with the classic beach bum’s lassazie faire, all-too-easy, “just leave the animals alone, nature will take care of itself” attitude. But in the course of getting to know our local animals, I had the astounding realization: we tried doing nothing already, and guess what? Everything died.

Restoring a little balance to the shore requires a little work, and some sacrifice, but these people have already done the heavy lifting for us. This is our chance. We’ve been given a tremendous gift that we didn’t really even ask for. Let’s not squander it!

Get involved. Even if it is only at the very simple of level of saying “Yes. Our beaches are a little more fun with our local animals thriving here; and yes, they are locals too and deserve a little respect.”

Even if we make a mess of this, one thing is for sure: Barnegat Light is crawling with babies. And it is awesome.