Lloyd Center kicks off the new year with bird search

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WESTPORT – The Lloyd Center for the Environment hopes to make 2022 the year of the birds.

Specifically, a year when birds such as waterfowl can thrive.

To kick off 2022, the Dartmouth-based nonprofit organized a march Jan. 2 to Gooseberry Island in Westport where rResearch associate Jamie Bogart explained coastal ecology and bird identification.

Throughout the walk, a dozen bird lovers have spotted a dozen different bird species, including goldeneyes, sandpipers and red-throated loons.

“It was a good day for bird watching,” Bogart said. “Mild temperatures, light winds – definitely better weather than yesterday. “

Nancy Rice, a resident of Dartmouth, was especially happy to see the loons in the water. She said they reminded her of a trip she took to Vermont last summer.

“There were some lovely loons there and seeing them here brought it all back,” Rice said. “Loons are amazing.”

Holly Perry, another Dartmouth resident, said what she enjoyed about walking was that it allowed her young family to appreciate nature and connect with people.

“It’s just good to move around,” she said.

The gooseberry walk, Bogart said, is the first of many he and the Lloyd Center plan to conduct throughout 2022, including owl prowlers and bird tracking during their spring migration.

Along with advocacy through walks, Bogart said the heavy lifting will go through continuing to protect waterfowl habitats.

“The habitats here are quite stable,” he said. “As long as we keep some land aside, these animals will be fine.”

In addition to working to establish conservation restrictions, Bogart said the nonprofit has ongoing contracts with West Island in Fairhaven and Bakers Beach in Westport to conserve populations of piping plovers, an endangered species of shorebirds that live along the Atlantic coast and around the Great Lakes.

Each nesting season, Bogart installs fences and signs to prevent people, pets, and all-terrain vehicles from disturbing or trampling on their habitats.

“We’ve been protecting piping plovers for decades,” he said.

Bogart added that there will also be additional research projects involving the plover population.

In addition to working to protect birds, he said the Lloyd Center also plans to continue its annual moth surveys and continue advocacy for environmental protection.

“We’re definitely busy,” Bogart said with a laugh.

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