Lesser Sand Plover moved to West Beach

In a turn of events, last weeks’ first state record Lesser Sand Plover at Michigan City Harbor has been refound.  Not back at the Lake Michigan beach, but at a unique inland pond within the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.  For folks needing info on the first sighting, read here.

Lesser Sand-Plover on the beach at Michigan City Harbor.  Photo courtesy Pete Grube.
Lesser Sand-Plover on the beach at Michigan City Harbor. Photo courtesy Pete Grube.

West Beach is a unit of the National Lakeshore that is well known as the main swimming destination for many park visitors.  Educationally, West Beach hosts an amazing succession trail that takes visitors from foredune grass, through thick Jack pine stands that host hidden Long-eared Owls, and up towering dunes.  The flat cactus fields behind the dunes host annual Le Conte’s Sparrows, and the scattered red cedars have on multiple occasions hosted wintering Merlins and Townsend Solitaires.

In southern part of the unit lies Long Lake.  Though shallow, the entire lake stretches for nearly a mile.  The lake is currently still holding very little water, from last year’s record heat and drought.  In some winters, low water levels have led to winter fish kills.

Folks looking for the Sand Plover over the next day or so should also watch for other rare species too. The photo below of three White-faced Ibis was taken just a few days ago.

White-faced Ibises in flight at West Beach, Dunes National Lakeshore.  October 2013.  Photo courtesy Pete Grube.
White-faced Ibises in flight at West Beach, Dunes National Lakeshore. October 2013. Photo courtesy Pete Grube.

Good luck to the chasers!

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