Coastal Ecology Program Series Post 2: Meet Andrew!
My name is Andrew Single and I am the Lead Field Technician for the Coastal Ecology Program here on Duxbury Beach. I graduated from Bridgewater State University in 2017 with a B.S. in Biology, and while earning my undergraduate degree I worked as part of a student research team investigating the impacts of various types of disturbances on songbird behavior. After graduating I spent a couple of years as an assistant biologist in a laboratory before coming to Duxbury for my first season the summer of 2019, and I have been here ever since.
The role of a field technician is ever-changing, but in a general sense myself and the two other field technicians conduct a lot of the biological field work on the beach. We first get on the site in mid-March to start identifying piping plover territories and potential mating pairs, and ultimately we locate all of the nests on the beach. We monitor the nests as they approach their projected hatch dates, and once the chicks hatch we check in on them daily to track their progress until they are ready to fledge and leave the beach in July and August. The field technician team is also responsible for surveying the least tern colonies on site and we work to quantify the productivity of each colony.
Prior to the long Memorial Day weekend the field technician team had found the 29th piping plover nest of the season; this was a major milestone for the program, as this was the most concurrent nests on Duxbury Beach ever! Unfortunately the storm we had over Memorial Day weekend ended up taking over half of our piping plover nests, with 15 of the 29 nests being lost completely and another two or three losing some eggs. While it's certainly upsetting this loss happened early enough in the season that we are hoping some of the pairs will re-nest, and indeed some pairs have already shown signs that they will be attempting to re-nest. Our first chicks of the year have also hatched, so keep an eye out for them stumbling around while you are out there this summer! Photos by: Stewart Ting Chong