Bird #208 — Piping Plover

charadrius (plover) melodus (melodious)

Monday, June 8, 1981 — 10:30 am

Waukegan, Illinois — Waukegan Public Beach

I heard about this bird on the Audubon hot line.  It was just where the information said it would be, but I almost missed it anyway.

On the far north end of the beach was a disturbed area where sand was piled into three or four long ridges running parallel to the Lake Michigan shoreline.  The innermost ridge was about 100 yards from the water and totally bare of vegetation.  The sand was dry and loose and difficult to walk on. 

I was walking along this hill looking for the Piping Plover.  I spotted a Killdeer running away from me.  As I watched it, I noticed a smaller, paler plover running alongside, about two feet away from it.  The Piping Plover was almost the exact color of the sand, and were it not for the Killdeer, I doubt I would have seen it.  It was very pretty, smaller than the Killdeer, with an incomplete black neck band and a short yellow/orange bill with a black tip.  Its legs were also yellow/orange.

As I approached, both birds crouched down in the sand.  When I got too close, they ran off, then flew down the hill out of sight.

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