Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Beach haven

We've had a very busy tourist season this year on the island and the beaches have been filled to the gills, so it was quite an enjoyable experience to do my Snowy Plover patrol this afternoon...and as such I am feeling grateful for those moments.
We have several Snowy Plover nests on the island and this little mama is working hard at keeping her eggs shielded from the hot sun.

Another pair nearby was observed cooling off by the breaking waves.

A few groups of Sanderling were peaceful along the shore, resting from their earlier feeding frenzy.

A Snowy Egret in breeding plumage seemed to have quite a bit of yellow going on other than its yellow slippers and long lacy plumes.

I had the pleasure of bumping into Audrey and Alaina doing their Snowy Plover patrol survey, Audrey is our new biologist/shorebird program coordinator - she puts in a hard day of work every day while she covers miles of beach walking - we are blessed to have her.

Another little Snowy Plover mama, you can see her eggs on the edges.

This is how the beach looks like when it's not tourist season - what's not to love!

The Sanderling are quite comfortable and taking a little snooze.

Our banded Snowy Plover mama, this is her 7th year nesting on our beaches.

A tennis ball was within the enclosure and a crow came over to play with it as I watched with horror how close it was to the nesting Snowy Plover.

Oooof, the ball seemed to keep the Crow busy and focused on that ball.

 I wished they would find another place to hang out, unfortunately this is a public beach and we have quite a few folks bringing snacks and sharing their food with those predators - which brings them closer to the enclosure and putting the Snowy Plover nesting effort at risk and often times to their detriment. It's a tough world out there.


  1. Hi France-
    SNPL have started nesting on Siesta, as well. We believe Fish Crows were at least part of the reason for failure of most of their nests last spring. Marco island and Naples lost both Skimmer and Least Tern nests to the crows. The "brilliant" solution this year, and they have already done it on Siesta, is to leave mildly poisonous decoy quail eggs for the crows to eat. SUPPOSEDLY,
    it will not harm crows or their nestlings, but will teach them not to predate SNPL nests. As a native Floridian, I cringe every time a nonnatural solution is introduced, but we shall see. Crows
    got a right to live, too, and the SNPL nests are so camouflaged by nature that even a bird can't see them. My own personal observation is that the posts for the marked-off areas are giving the crows convenient perches from which to harass the nest colonies. Without them, there are no vantage points for them on the perfectly flat beach. Who knows? The birds do. Time will tell. Thanks for bringing us along, as always,

    1. You bring up good points and I tend to agree with you about 'poisonous decoy' - we all know what happens to a rat that has eaten poison....sure, it dies but the raptor that eats it dies too! let's just hope that the effort put forth toward conservation and protection will work in the long run.