To protect the beach-nesting birds, the Coastal Center parking lot will again be closed over the Fourth of July weekend
Correction: The Coastal Center gates will be locked at 4 p.m. Thursday, July 1, and reopened at sunrise on Tuesday, July 6.
In the Sanctuaries…
June 28, 2021 — Baby birds are trying to survive, fireworks will light the night sky, revelers will be looking toward the beach.
At Milford Point, those three things are not compatible.
And so once again the Connecticut Audubon Society will attempt to minimize the disturbance to beach-nesting birds by closing the Coastal Center parking lot.
The gates will be locked at 4 p.m. Thursday, July 1, and reopened at sunrise on Tuesday, July 6.
It’s a critical time for the Piping Plovers and American Oystercatchers that nest there. They nest at Milford Point and as it is 2021 is already a tough year for them.
Katerina Gillis, the coastal ranger at Milford Point, said: “We have three American Oystercatcher nests, each with two eggs that survived the recent full mood tides. For Piping Plovers, we have five birds that have officially fledged and two more chicks that are due to fledge any day.
“As for Piping Plover nests, we currently have eight incubating. The earliest some of these nests will hatch are on July 10th and the latest being July 25th.”
Beaches tend to be gathering places for fireworks users and bigger crowds than usual on holidays. That’s incredibly disruptive to adult birds and their chicks.
Milford Point is of course a nature preserve and not appropriate for typical beach recreational activities.
We know that locking the gates might be an inconvenience, and we thank you for understanding.
Piping Plovers are federally-threatened. Least Terns and American Oystercatchers are threatened in the state, and Common Terns are a species of special concern.
Keeping people off the beach for the Fourth of July weekend will help those birds survive.