There’s nothing like going to the beach on the Fourth of July. While hundreds of thousands of people are attracted to crowded and popular destinations such as Jones Beach and Smith Point, others find it more relaxing to go to out-of-the-way places such as Breakwater Beach — a small strip of sand and rock next to Mattituck Inlet.
But one group is asking people not to use the beach at all.
Starting Sunday, a group of volunteers will be at Breakwater Beach asking people to keep away from an area that has been taken over by birds.
The Group for the East End will have volunteers out from Sunday to July 8, trying to protect the nesting areas of a colony of at least 80 least terns, and one particular spot where a pair of piping plovers are already nesting.
The volunteers will be particularly active on the Fourth of July, when people are drawn to the water to watch the sunset. The Group for the East End points out that, while illegal, some people bring fireworks to the beach on the Fourth of July, and that in the dark nests are even harder to spot.
Both species of birds are threatened, and the plovers are listed as endangered in New York State.
Above: Mattituck Inlet