Snowy Plover Updates - 2022

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During the western snowy plover breeding season, park docents help monitor and protect nesting sites and help create awareness and educate visitors about this threatened species and its life cycle. Visitors have expressed interest in the plovers and are pleased to have staff and docents in the field answering all types of naturalist questions. Through the summer, park staff create updates to let staff, volunteers, and visitors know the latest on what is happening out at the nesting sites. Click on one of the links below to find out how the Snowy Plovers at Point Reyes were doing at the time. To learn more about becoming a Snowy Plover Docent, please visit our Volunteer page.

Snowy Plover Update - September 1, 2022

September 01, 2022 Posted by: Matt Lau

This will be the last breeding update of the year—this breeding season went by quick! Our team of Point Blue Conservation Science and NPS biologists found a total of 34 known nests. We confirmed 28 total fledglings, a new record. Nest success was notably high as well. Biologists will continue to periodically monitor the winter flocks and snowy plovers throughout the fall and winter, until the 2023 breeding season.


Snowy Plover Update - August 27, 2022

August 28, 2022 Posted by: Matt Lau

Point Reyes' snowy plovers are quickly converting over to winter mode—only a single brood remains, though they have evaded biologists recently; this last brood fledges this coming Monday, August 29. Hopefully we will be able to relocate them before the hatchling fledges and takes off! Biologists are also switching gears: instead of surveying for nests and broods, we are focusing on locating winter flocks and counting the number of birds within flocks.


Snowy Plover Update - August 19, 2022

August 19, 2022 Posted by: Matt Lau

We are breaking records this season! So far, we have confirmed 27 fledglings from North Beach and Limantour Spit, surpassing our previous record of 25 fledglings back in 1997. On top of that, we still have four to five plover chicks from three different broods to fledge in the next couple of weeks, potentially increasing our record number. Additionally, we observed incredibly high nest success on North Beach.


Snowy Plover Update - August 12, 2022

August 12, 2022 Posted by: Matt Lau

We now only have a few broods left to monitor—these plover hatchlings are due to fledge within the next 2.5 weeks and all can be found between Abbotts Lagoon and North Beach parking lot. Breeding activity on all other sites has wrapped up and plovers have joined the increasing number of winter flocks on Point Reyes beaches. Recently fledged juveniles are beginning to disperse and are being observed outside of Point Reyes National Seashore.


Snowy Plover Update - August 5, 2022

August 05, 2022 Posted by: Matt Lau

The end of the snowy plover breeding season is in sight! We now only have a single active nest, due to hatch in the next few days. A large number of broods fledged their chicks in the past couple of weeks, increasing our fledge count to 22! For comparison, we had a total of 23 fledglings from the 2021 breeding season. On top of that, we still have 8–11 chicks still active on Point Reyes beaches, in addition to the three unhatched chicks from our last active nest!


Snowy Plover Update - July 28, 2022

July 28, 2022 Posted by: Matt Lau

Like the 2021 season, we found another brood of two chicks from an unknown nest near the Abbotts Lagoon mouth. It wasn't a complete surprise—we suspected there was a banded female that was incubating a nest somewhere in the Abbotts Lagoon restoration area that we were unable to find, but at least the nest survived 28 days to hatch without assistance of an exclosure! Several broods fledged chicks in the past week, many of which were hiding within the Abbotts Triangle area.


Snowy Plover Update - July 22, 2022

July 23, 2022 Posted by: Matt Lau

The breeding season is slowing down—only four active nests remain and breeding adults not associated with a nest or brood have joined winter flocks or have migrated already. "Winter" flocks started forming slightly early in the second week of July; these flocks generally don't start coalescing until mid- to late July. These "winter flocks" consist of Point Reyes breeding birds in addition to migrants from other breeding areas.


Snowy Plover Update - July 15, 2022

July 24, 2022 Posted by: Matt Lau

With the King tides during the previous week, many of the remaining active nests were in danger of being washed over by high tides. One new nest on Limantour Beach unfortunately was completely washed over by high tides; the nest was in a location where the tide was so high, it nearly covered the top of the mini-exclosure! Photos are below. The breeding pair has been spotted but we have not yet found any scrapes or signs that they are nesting again.


Snowy Plover Update - July 8, 2022

July 08, 2022 Posted by: Matt Lau

Most of the snowy plover nests on North Beach have hatched during the past week and a half—seven in total! One additional nest is projected to hatch this weekend. We're expecting new nests to pop up in the next couple of weeks, which will possibly be the last collection of nests for the season. The majority of nesting activity this season has been at this site—between North Beach parking lot and the Abbotts Lagoon mouth.


Snowy Plover Update - June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022 Posted by: Matt Lau

We had an exciting number of snowy plover nests that hatched in the past week—five from North Beach and one on Limantour Beach. Three of nests likely hatched on the same day, all on North Beach, which has not happened since before 2016. This means we have 14 plover chicks running around on Point Reyes' beaches! We are now in a period where a series of nests have hatched, freeing up females to depart the chicks to find another mate and establish a new nest.


Snowy Plover Update - June 24, 2022

June 24, 2022 Posted by: Matt Lau

We have entered the latter half of the snowy plover nesting season—both nest and hatchling survival tends to increase dramatically during this period. We believe this is the case because there are fewer common ravens observed roaming the beaches during this time. We expect several nests to hatch in the next week, primarily on North Beach; one nest is due to hatch this weekend on Limantour Beach, near the main access.


Snowy Plover Update - June 15, 2022

June 15, 2022 Posted by: Matt Lau

We now have four confirmed snowy plover fledglings this season! One chick from Limantour Beach and three chicks from North Beach have survived to 28 days after hatching. The males from these broods will likely depart these fledglings to find new mates and establish new nests. The fledglings may stick around or may disperse and fly to other sites along the coast.


Snowy Plover Update - June 10, 2022

June 10, 2022 Posted by: Matt Lau

We have our first two confirmed fledges of the season! Two snowy plover chicks survived to 28 days after hatching on June 5, 2022; a Point Blue Conservation Science biologist observed both chicks with their plover dad running around in the Abbotts Lagoon restoration area on June 9; this is approximately 1.7 miles north of their nest site location on North Beach! We have another round of nests projected to hatch in the coming few weeks, mostly along North Beach.


Snowy Plover Update - May 28, 2022

May 29, 2022 Posted by: Matt Lau

The snowy plover breeding season is well underway. We found our first nest of the season on April 4 on North Beach. It's been an uncharacteristically busy season since! Nest success is usually low during the first half of the season (i.e., March–May), but we have been able to find and protect nests with exclosures quickly to prevent any depredation by common ravens and other predators. Because of this, many nests have been surviving and several have hatched already!


Last updated: July 18, 2022

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