The search for the elusive Snowy Plover…Part 3.
By: Olivia Morpeth
Sabrina and I have been continuing to check the site of our first snowy plover nest 2-3 times per week, looking for any signs of the adult plover or chicks. The chicks have not been seen since May 25th, and the last sighting of the adult plover, who had previously been seen displaying territorial behavior, was on June 6th. We were getting discouraged, thinking the chicks may not have made it. Between the constant threat of depredation from coyotes and Tropical Storm Cristobal coming through the area, it would have been a difficult first few weeks for them. We continued monitoring the site and a few days later were surprised to see a banded snowy plover! By looking back in our data from previous seasons, we found that this banded plover was a female, and had actually nested in the area in 2019! On top of that, she was acting very territorial, calling at us and preforming a broken wing display. We thought this could be a good sign that she may be nesting at this location again. Sabrina and I continued surveying the area in the following weeks, scouring the dunes following her tracks, thinking that there must be a nest back there. But no luck! We were beginning to think we must be missing something. Then on June 29th, we spotted the banded female plover foraging along the water, but she was not alone… foraging next to her was a fledgling snowy plover! We were so excited! We think it is likely that this fledgling was from that first nest, and that the banded female was the elusive mother to the nest, but we can’t be certain. The location will continue to be monitored, and we will keep our fingers crossed for more good surprises!