Saturday, October 10, 2015

Snowy Plovers at the end of Seacoast Drive

Of all the regular San Diego birds the Snowy Plover was the remaining most common bird that I had not found. Snowy Plovers are birds of dry sandy beaches. I just haven't birded that habitat very much in the past two years--that habitat doesn't attract many birds, but sure attracts a lot of people. So I chose a recent rainy day to walk out the sand spit from the end of Seacoast Drive in Imperial Beach to the north side of the mouth of the Tijuana River.

Tijuana River mouth
There is a gravel-topped berm between the beach and the river mouth marsh. I walked down the berm a little over a half mile. Then I walked back along the beach on loose sand (even the wet sand was soft). White homes in Tijuana, Mexico, can be seen on the hill in the distance in the photo above.

Snowy Plover
Snowy Plover. Imperial Beach, California. October 5, 2015. Greg Gillson.
Snowy Plover

Endangered Snowy Plovers and Least Terns nest on the open sandy beaches where they compete with sunbathers, surfers, dogs, and some vehicles. Nesting areas are roped off in summer, but that doesn't necessarily keep people out and nests from being trampled. Additionally, though camouflaged to match the dry sand, the tasty eggs and chicks are under constant siege from gulls, crows, raccoons, and other predators. If these cute, tiny shorebirds lay belly-down on the sand and don't move, they just might go unnoticed by predators.

Snowy Plover

Snowy Plover

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