Plover Lovers, Bird Nerds, and Wildlife Fans Celebrate: Little Plover Making a Big Comeback
By Dan Elbert/USFWS Biologist
With the chill of fall in the air and the cheer of sports fans in the air, there is one more reason to celebrate this season – the tiny Western snowy plover is smashing population records in a big way.
Photo: Wester Snowy Plover chicks with eggshells on sand, Credit: Credit: B. Casler/USFWS
Records began to crumble in January when 232 snowy plovers were counted on the Oregon coast during the annual Winter Window Survey; an increase of approximately 17 percent over the previous high count of 199 the previous year.
Plover monitors from the Oregon Biodiversity Information Center observed the earliest hatch date (April 17) and fledging date (May 21) ever for the Oregon coast. History has shown that when nests and broods are successful early in the breeding period, adults are able to attempt secondary and tertiary nests during the lengthy 6-month breeding period and rear multiple broods. Consequently, productivity rates can sky-rocket under ideal conditions.
Preliminary data indicate that more than 300 adult snowy plovers were present on the Oregon coast in 2014, approximately 350 nests were monitored, of which about 210 hatched (60% nest success rate). Only 93 of 381 snowy plover nests hatched last year (24% nest success rate). Even more impressive than 210 nests hatching (another Oregon coast first by the way), were the 270 or more chicks that successfully fledged in 2014- shattering the previous record of 180 chicks that fledged in 2012.
Adam is an Old Ale, the first beer produced by Hair of the Dog. Apparently, this is a re-creation of an historic beer style originally made in Dortmund, Germany. Complex aromas reveal a deep range of fruit, vinous like red grape and raisin, dark like black currant. Malts bring out bready notes which are sweet like caramelized sugar, underscored by a roasted outline of cocoa. Even further, I find the likes of smoked oak, leather, rum, musty herbs, and peppery phenols (with a hint of band-aid).
The palate makes a sweet introduction as fruity malts unfold into flavors of dried apricot and fig. Even richer, stickier sweetness follows like burnt caramel or blackstrap molasses. As hops infuse herbal characteristics, notable hints of yeast surface in a sort of spicy, black pepper vibe. Lightly roasted malts emerge from behind like cocoa powder, followed by a tart, black cherry flavor, which is then propelled toward a sudden climax of 50 IBU’s of bitterness. At this point, those fruity notes begin to fall back, and deeper complexities reveal rum, licorice, and tobacco. The mouthfeel is pretty chewy, full-bodied, and satisfying. It’s mostly creamy at first, then dry with a sort of syrupy finish that coats the mouth.
Each flavor component harmoniously flows into the next as if carefully orchestrated. The sweet, fruity malt character is very much reminiscent of a barleywine, but there’s this European yeast component that really makes things interesting. It’s almost like a Belgian-brewed Russian imperial stout might taste. I consider this a malt-forward brew, where hops merely play a supportive role. Can’t say I’ve ever had another beer quite like this, which is probably why Adam is my favorite so-called “old ale” to date. I think this beer is superb. It is a testament to the world class brewing you’ll find from Hair of the Dog. I highly recommend it!