May, 2004

Master of Camouflage

Piping Plovers are an endangered species that live and breed along the edge of the Great Lakes. There are only about 50 breeding pairs in the Great Lakes region, so seeing them is a rare gift that comes along with the responsibility to make sure that they are not disturbed.

After carefully walking along the edge of the protected piping plover nesting area and not seeing a single plover I moved down the beach and sat down to eat my lunch. I sat down on a small dune hill just above the strip of loose stones that are called cobble. Plovers like to nest in small depressions in the cobble because both their eggs and their own feather colors blend in so well with the small stones.

While munching lunch I noticed movement in the cobble and looked up. Nothing. I went back to eating. Again movement, and again I couldn't see what it was. After looking closer I could finally see a pair of piping plovers in the cobble in front of me.

Do you remember the kid's books "Where is Waldo"? I took a sequence of three photos to show children a real world Waldo, a master of camouflage.

See if you can find the plover in the following photos. The same plover is in each photo, and is easier to see in each succeeding image. If you can't find him at first then scroll down to the next image. Once you find him then go back to the previous picture and you'll be able to spy him easier.

Was he hard to see at first?




May 2, 2004

Walk along the beach

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