10/13/2020 4:15:00 PM Stump Pass Beach State Park Bird Nesting Report
Least Turn chick jumping for joy. Photo by Mary Lundeberg.
If you were one of the beachgoers and boaters who frequented the southern end of Stump Pass Beach State Park during this year’s bird nesting season, you may be interested in the bird nesting season report results from the Bird Stewarding Program. Audubon, Charlotte County and Friends of Stump Pass (FOSP) trained 33 people to be bird stewards and monitor the nesting site on Stump Pass. Because of the closure of the state park due to COVID-19, it was nearly impossible for the bird stewards to carry out their daily walks for site monitoring and answering questions, so the program was put on hold. Bird steward program chairs Mary Lundeberg and Carol McCoy continued to monitor the nesting area. In July there were about 150 least terns on the site. At one point, 18 fledged chicks were counted, as well as several downy and feathered chicks. Because of a tropical storm which wiped out several eggs early in the season, some terns re-nested. Another seven or more chicks became flight capable later in August. A conservative estimate is that the terns at Stump Pass Beach State Park fledged about 25 least tern chicks this summer, as well as two Wilson’s plover chicks. A highlight of the summer was the female American oystercatcher that rested around Marker 10, and also near the edge of the terns’ territory from March until late August. A grant request by Lundeberg and McCoy to CHNEP (Coastal & Heartland National Estuary Partnership) was funded and used to create materials for the public and bird stewards. Lundeberg and McCoy wrote a 44-page book to be distributed to families on the beach next season, A Tale of a Tern, and a ten-page field guide to be used by bird stewards for species identification. The book will be available soon to the public and details will be announced when it is ready. In this photo by Mary Lundeberg, a least tern chick jumps for joy as its parent returns to the nest with a fish. Photo by Mary Lundeberg