Successful Shorebird Nesting Season Over At Cape Lookout National Seashore

Black skimmers are among the species of birds that nest at Cape Lookout National Seashore. Refuge Watch photo.

Despite the storms that battered Cape Lookout National Seashore this summer, park officials report that the shorebird nesting season seems to have been successful, with good broods from piping plovers, oystercatchers, terns, and Wilson's plovers.

And with the nesting season over, Superintendent Russel J. Wilson says all bird closures have been removed as of August 25.

The Cape Point nesting area persisted into late August as black skimmer and common tern nests and chicks were still active up until Hurricane Bill. The swell from Tropical Storm Bill on August 22 and 23 washed out the remaining nests and all remaining chicks were fledged. Nine sites on the Core Banks that were posted included Portsmouth Flats, High Hills, Kathryn-Jane Flats, Old Drum Inlet area, New Drum Inlet area, old Ophelia Island, north tip of South Core Banks, Cape Point, and Power Squadron Spit. These sites are reopened to pedestrians.

The preliminary nesting season results are good. There were 37 pairs of piping plovers that produced 30 fledglings. The American oystercatcher nesting population produced 20 fledglings from 60 nesting pairs. There were 12 tern and black skimmer nesting colonies that had varying success. In addition, 72 nesting pairs of Wilson’s plovers were documented.

Park Staff would like to thank the public for cooperating with the seashore’s bird management. The vast majority of the visitors respect the posted areas, including the ocean beach vehicle closures. These closed areas are important to provide a disturbance free nesting and brood rearing environment.

Cape Lookout National Seashore not only provides high quality nesting sites, but is important for migratory and wintering shorebirds. You can help these birds by keeping pets on leash at all times throughout the year in the seashore.