Photographers! Interested in a rare opportunity to photograph an indigenous endangered species right here in Belmar? The only surviving* Least Tern nesting colony in Monmouth is located on the beach between the Shark River inlet and the Belmar Fishing Club. This is an amazingly successful colony with well over 300 adults present, approximately 175 nests and now after they started hatching on June 12, well over 200 chicks.
this was an email i got this morning from my friend, Mary Ellen, who knew i would love this - so off i went! parking wasn't too bad there today, so i pumped some quarters into the slot and headed to see the birds. the "least tern", has set up a nesting colony right behind this building (the Belmar fishing club). it has been blocked off surrounding their colony. i walked along the perimeter and took some photos. the email also said "be prepared to be divebombed and wear a hat". i didn't receive any divebombs, but i did wear my hat. they were indeed very fun to watch. i noticed someone else closer to the beach side taking photos, so i headed over there to say hi and chat. she turned out to be Nancy Smith and she is a "monitor" of the colony. she's been taking photos of them for several weeks and keeping track of their activities. she told me they are really fun to watch at sunset as the babies get ready for bed. they burrow into the sand all the while as their mom chatters to them. she told me that one chick wasn't making his bed as he was suppose to and that the mom seem to be telling him, "to settle down and go to bed" - so he did. she also told me that on the 4th of July, people were down there shooting off fireworks. luckily she was driving by and saw them, so she turned around and found the offenders and called the police. it was an intoxicated adult (a local too) and some teenagers. he said he was aware of the birds (but guess he didn't care?) the fireworks totally disrupted the colony and now what Nancy is seeing is momma birds flying in with fish and not being able to find their babies. apparently there is going to be a court case. i guess next year, we will have to stand out there and monitor for idiots who show up with their (illegal in this state) fireworks. I have a feeling i will be seeing more of Nancy as she's really into getting out into nature and taking pictures like i enjoy doing. she has some kayaks (or a boat, can't remember) and i asked if she'd like some company. some of Nancy's pictures can be found here at Shark River Coalition.