Hello everyone!! This week was particularly exciting because we had Mud-stomp- an annual event to help out the snowy plover! So a bit of background: the snowy plover is a smallish, chubby-looking bird with a short black beak,white underbelly , light tan coloration on the back and black patches on the side of its neck. This bird’s standing status is threatened (ecos.fws.gov), and it turns out that a way we can help conserve this species is by (you guessed it); stomping in the mud.
Snowy plovers are beach dwellers, which means they build their nests on the ground and use shell bits to make their nests; and turns out, a boot print left in the mud is the perfect size for a plover nest. This small but significant indentation will help them hide better on the ground, camouflaging themselves, their nest, and their chicks from predators. Simply by stomping on mud, we can help them breed and increase chances of hatched eggs and chick survival, overall increasing their population numbers (and have fun while doing so) 🙂
Mud stomp was this Saturday, April 8th. Even though weather forecast said it would rain, weather seemed nice and partly sunny as arrived at the salt ponds at Moss Landing to meet Carlton Eyster, the plover biologist of the area. He explained to the 40 volunteers present why going out to stomp in the mud was helpful for the snowy plover, as well as pointing out a plover’s nest and other shorebird species along the way.
So first weather was like this..
Then like this…
Yes, it got to us. As soon as we reached our destination the rain poured down, feeling like sleet across our faces, feet nearly stuck in the mud with every step, the wind numbing our hands.
But I’m going to be honest; it was glorious. The feeling of jeans soaked to the bone, hands numb and having to brave the elements in such a way- it flames the heart and inspires the mind. Nature and character combine to give a sense of pride and accomplishment. And even though unfortunately I had to leave the event early, (even though rain stopped after most of us left), 🙁 just being out there was an awesome experience, and I personally, I would live it all over again. That’s why I love going outside…and I know I’m not the only one. So please, keep yours eyes and ears ready for the next event!!