Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday, June 15: Flood Rescue.

Today was full of ups and downs.

It started as soon as I got to work when the plover monitors grabbed me for a flood rescue. If I didn't know what it was initially, my drive to Cavendish Main confirmed my suspicions: The water had risen so rapidly that it was the highest I've ever seen. Piping plovers nest on the shores of the National Park.

My little buddies that I have been filming for almost a month were in trouble.

Lucas went to check on the eggs at Clarke's Pond while Jessie and I searched Cavendish Main for the plover parents and chicks that had eluded me since last Wednesday. The conditions were absolutely fierce. 100 km/hr winds with salt spray fogging up my glasses and lense. Debris everywhere and sand whipping at my bare legs. Finally, after over an hour of searching, Jessie spotted a plover feeding by the shore and we followed it until it landed near another adult plover and at least one baby brooding behind tall dune grass. We dared not go further to see if more than one chick survived; to disturb the plovers now could be fatal for the chick(s) if the adults got spooked and flew away. So we let them be and met back up with Lucas, who gave us the amazing news that the flood waters hadn't reached the Clarkes Pond nest, and the 4 eggs + adults were still there.

Unfortunately, we lost 2 nests in Greenwich and one in Blooming point. That's right, 3 out of 5 plover nests the monitors had been meticulously watching over and studying, wiped out in a matter of hours. Heartbreaking.

I could go on to tell you about the rest of my day, but I don't feel like anything else even comes close to what I experienced this morning. The tension in the car ride to Cavendish, the frantic phone calls and texts of "DRIVE FASTER" between monitors, the look of sheer desperation on everyone's face. It's an experience I'll not soon forget, and I thank the monitors for letting me come along to film.

Since today was so terrible out, I don't have a photo of the day, sorry! You'll have to deal with a mass of boring text. I've tried to space it out as best I can to give your eyes a rest.

1 comment:

  1. Marsha, as terrible as this is, it is great for your story. I hope you got the reactions of the students when they discovered the nests that were saved and destroyed.
    Sorry if this is crass but its the journalist in me.