Over the last few months we have been watching shorebirds return to Nantucket – as Karen Beattie mentioned in her previous blog post, we are happy to be welcoming back our shorebird friends! By now, you may have noticed that we’ve erected fencing on our beaches to protect the nests and young of American oystercatchers, piping plovers and least terns – despite a cold and windy spring, the shorebird nesting season is geared up and we have our first nests on the ground!

Our new seasonal shorebird monitors have also started up with us for the season, have hit the ground running and are busy searching for nests. Neil Foley is our Coatue Ranger and Shorebird Monitor this season and Libby Buck will be monitoring the birds on all the other NCF-owned beaches. If you see Neil or Libby, feel free to introduce yourself, welcome them to Nantucket and ask them questions. They would be happy to show you the birds and explain our policies about the protection of nesting shorebirds!

amoyyc1cedarkeyairportroost120506-by-pat-learyAdult plover and her chick!

Libby Buck – NCF Shorebird Monitor


I am from Chatham, Massachusetts and I hold a degree in Marine Safety and Environmental Protection from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Being a 14th generation native Cape Codder, I have spent most summers as a child playing in the surf on North Beach in my hometown. I have completed internships with the Cape Cod National Seashore and on the Panama Canal. I have a plethora of logged volunteer time with local conservation organizations and assisted with studies on sharks at Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole. I have spent the past four summers working for the shorebird program for North Beach and North Beach Island in Chatham. I have come to love the Piping Plovers, American Oystercatchers, and Least Terns. This season working with NCF, I hope to continue protecting the birds, educating the public, and furthering my knowledge about beaches, marine life, plant life, and conservation. I feel at home on the beach along with caring for those creatures that need our protection and I would like to keep doing it forever.

 Neil Foley – Coatue Ranger and Shorebird Monitor


Originally from Broadalbin, NY in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains; I have spent the last 2 years following my passion and fascination with birds across North America. My Environmental Biology degree from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY has instilled in me a true love of what I study and the ability to enthusiastically (and oftentimes humorously) incorporate into a new community.

My first field job watching Piping Plovers and Least Terns in Suffolk County, Long Island initiated my connection with the shore, the intertidal marshes, and of course the incredible and interesting organisms that call these areas home for the breeding season. Even when land locked, I can catch a sniff of sulfur and immediately be transported back to low tide on the Atlantic coast with a smile on my face and birds in my binocular lenses. I also spent a summer encountering all sorts of shorebirds and wild ponies with the USFWS on Chincoteague Island, VA. With a desire to branch out from the shore, I took jobs researching bird monitoring and protection in the Alberta Oil Sands and learning avian rehabilitation and captive care at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science. These jobs allowed me to take part in some incredibly fulfilling and important work to keep wild birds healthy and free to improve another birder’s checklist.

Now with my itch for intertidal exploration reaching critical mass, I am starting a new adventure around Nantucket and a spectacular summer of birding, painting, reading, and interacting with visitors on Coatue!

We are excited to have Libby and Neil on board this summer and we’re looking forward to a productive shorebird season!

If you would like to know more about the non-profit Nantucket Conservation Foundation, please visit our website and consider becoming a member!