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Categories & Keywords

Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:4 eggs, Assateague Island, Charadrius melodus, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Federally Threatened Species, Piping Plover, Virginia, beach, bird, breeding adult, breeding plumage, breeding season, coastal, eastern shore, eggs, incubating, male, marsh, protected species, protective enclosure, protective fencing, sand, shore, specikled eggs, spring, wetland
Photo Info

Dimensions7200 x 4800
Original file size18.6 MB
Image typeJPEG
Color spacesRGB
Date taken19-May-16 07:52
Date modified12-Mar-17 22:05
Shooting Conditions

Camera modelNIKON D810
Focal length600 mm
Focal length (35mm)600 mm
Max lens aperturef/4
Exposure1/2000 at f/5.6
FlashNot fired, compulsory mode
Exposure bias-2/3 EV
Exposure modeAuto
Exposure prog.Aperture priority
ISO speedISO 200
Metering modePattern
Digital zoom1x


Adult Piping Plover getting ready to settle over his clutch of 4 eggs.

Piping Plovers are listed as Threatened on the U.S. Endangered Species List. It is easy to understand how uncontrolled 4-wheeling and foot traffic could threaten the survival of this species. Their nests are difficult to see and completely exposed on gentle sandy beaches.

The faint gray rectangular grid visible in the image is from a metal fence enclosure 8' in diameter installed around and above the nest by refuge staff to help keep predators away.

The portion of the beach where this bird is nesting is roped off and posted with signs restricting access. I shot this image while respecting those restrictions.

Rare Least Terns, Oystercatchers and Black Skimmers also benefit from the protected beach. Piping Plover numbers have been gradually increasing over the last 2 decades, thanks no doubt to the protections afforded them.