I have spent lots and lots of my time this week at the beach, so I am like ten shades darker right now, well my hands, arms, and face are. There is a lot of excitement in the bird world here in Los Angeles, way too much excitement that I find myself constantly talking about birds everywhere I go. Even though shorebirds have migrated already and we are hardly seeing anything on our shorebird surveys, there are some little guys that have decided to stay and actually nest here, and have actually not nested here in about 68 years, yes 68 years. So, bird people are really excited here.
Los Angeles beaches are highly visited beaches where individuals take their dogs off and on leash, individuals go for a morning run, yoga, or random events. Anything is really expected from Los Angeles (there was once a tattoo festival on the beach…literally). With such high usage of Los Angeles beaches, it is very difficult for birds that nest on the sand (like the snowy plover) to be able to successfully lay a nest and have it survive. With the endangered status of the snowy plovers there has been a lot of conservation strategies to help the species’ population increase. In Los Angeles, snowy plover enclosure were set up ten years ago, and were never used. Snowy plovers were around the Los Angeles area, but would breed in Santa Barbara after their stroll through Los Angeles…until now.
This whole week, I have been nest monitoring one nest in Dockweiler beach where a snowy plover decided to lay a nest in the enclosure that was set up ten years ago. I pretty much have been hanging out on the beach with binoculars checking on human traffic, predators, snowy plovers, and informing the public that are curious about why I am there. Then there was another surprise… We found another plover nest… so now there are two nests in the enclosure! And it gets better… this past weekend, the eggs hatched.. so now there are small cotton balls with sticks running around the beach. I am excited to head back to the enclosure tomorrow and hopefully get a peek of them.
Fun fact: The male Snowy Plover is the one that incubates the eggs.