Posted by Lidya Endzo Kun iLLa

(My cousin, Irwin Yatter, snapped this unposed picture of me last year at Jones Beach. Irwin not only always has a heavy camera with him, he also brings his petite wife, Marsha, who becomes a smiling tripod when he balances his camera on her head.)

<>In the shade of my rain or shine umbrella (I oversunned growing up in Rockaway Beach) you see me reading a sign that warns not to disturb the nesting area of the piping plover by kite flying or tromping through the tall beach grass.

<>As a child, I called the plovers "Goony Birds." I ran, giggling, along with them at the shoreline to and from the tide. Their wiry orange legs reminded me of the little toy chicks sold at Easter.<>

<>When I grew up, my heart ached because I rarely saw a plover. I'd listen for their plaintive, bell-like cries and only hear the shrieking of the gulls. Gone! I thought. Another species gone!<>

<>But now, thanks to ecologists, the Goony Birds will be back to skitter along the shore, leaving their tiny footprints in the dark, wet sand.

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