Week 11: Second Survey Plover Week in the Year
The first Snowy Plover week I participated a few months ago I surveyed four beaches and did not see any plovers. This time I surveyed two beaches, Zuma Beach in Malibu and Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, and still had no sightings. Most likely they are nesting in beaches up north- miles away from Los Angeles County. I do not know what the numbers were like in other beaches but a couple weeks ago I saw three Snowy Plovers by Venice Beach. I thought it was pretty interesting that they were at the beach that gets heavily populated by people (especially at this time of year!) and not one in the beaches that is less populated and farther from the city. As mentioned in a previous blog post, there hasn’t been a Snowy Plover nest found in the Los Angeles County since the 1970s so it would be interesting to see the report for this year to see if the populations of this federally threatened species are increasing or not.
Speaking of federally threatened species, this week we had our weekly monitoring at the Least Tern Colony and we found the first nest of the breeding season! However, about five minutes after we spot it, an American Crow predated upon it. This tells us that crows are still predating and the electric egg project may slowed crow predation but not at 100%. Tom Ryan, the wildlife biologist, said that incubation can take up to nearly 25 days. After witnessing the predation moment, I imagine how challenging it is for California Least Tern nest to be successful. We saw many crows fly over the colony a few times scavenging for food. Although there have been many crows hanging out at the colony, we are still hopeful for a successful fledglings!