Snowy Plover nest (parent with three eggs)
discovered 6-9-03 in Cloisters drainage area - Lot  121

Click thumbnail images below to see larger images


Map of Cloisters showing
location of Plover nest

View from Cloisters access
road (Coral Ave.) to Plover
nest

Plover parent faking wing injury
to distract observers from nest

Zoomed in view of nest area -
without optics, the
nest is almost invisible until
within a few feet. 
Effective 6-11-03 a
rope fence
is now erected to protect area

Wide view of nest area

Close-up parent on nest
(blurry - taken thru binoculars)

6-11-03 plover on public path
100 feet south

6-18-03
observations:
we now have 3 new
healthy Snowy Plover chicks.

Original Photo courtesy of, and
Copyright 2002-2003 Kenneth Adelman,
California Coastal Records Project,
www.californiacoastline.org

Photo was annotated by
morro-bay.com editor

6-20-03
The Cloister's Plover "family" moves to the Morro Strand Beach... here is a related e-mail:

Teresa Teresa Larsen (tpolan@[remove]charter.net, cell (805) 235-3533), nice to talk to you today about the Cloister's plovers (2 adults; 3 chicks hatched 6-18-03), who, as I mentioned, walked from their nest area off Coral Avenue
(documented at http://morro-bay.com/birding/plover/index.htm  )
to the Azure Street entrance and onto the Morro Strand Beach. 
On 6-20-03 the five birds left the yellow-roped nest area at 11:30 AM (helped across Coral Avenue by Gene Schellenger gene2@[remove]shellworld.net ) to the wetlands, to the fencing on the south side of the northern section of houses, to the asphalt pathway, to the Azure Street entrance, and hit the sand ay 2:30PM.
Cheers,
Mike Baird

6-24-03 Hi Mike,
Wanted to let you and others know that I saw 2 plover chicks with an adult male at the "north playa" area on Morro Strand SB on 6/23, ~12:30 pm. They looked about a week old. Since there have not been any recent hatches here (due to constant crow predation) we can assume that these are the cloister plovers.
 
Teresa Larson

Contact Info.  State Park's official Plover Monitor is Teresa Larson, cell (805) 235-3533...
She works with Morro Bay's Vince Cicero of State Parks.

(Note from editor:)  Please read the following communication regarding proper behavior in approaching a nest.  We observed that the bird will leave the nest to distract an observer even if one is walking on the public path about 100' to the south...  Here is the remedy ...    Please address questions to:
Steve Henry
Senior Biologist
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
2493 Portola Road, Suite B
Ventura, CA 93003
(805) 644-1766 (office)
(805) 644-3958 (fax)
steve_henry@[remove]r1.fws.gov

6-11-03
Steve Henry Steve_Henry@[remove]r1.fws.gov ,

Thanks for your e-mail. I left a message on you voicemail just now (6-11-03 11 AM). Thank you for your offer to help address this situation. Local birding expert Freeman Hall was the closest thing I had to an expert when we went to investigate this activity in our "back yard." I relied on his good judgment for doing what was appropriate. I requested our City Parks people to take appropriate action, but you guys no doubt know best, and can advise the proper remedy. Would you please recommend the correct action to be taken to those who maintain the park (Morro Bay City). If nothing is done this poor bird may be taken due to the heavy recreational foot traffic in the area. I have added your e-mail message to the other information at the web site http://morro-bay.com/birding/plover/ with your warning, and added a personal plea to others to please stay far away. So that others will be aware of the proper protocol, can you please give me more specific information as to the proper public behavior, and I will be glad to publish that. Best Regards,

Mike Baird mike@[remove]mikebaird.com http://mikebaird.com http://morro-bay.com Morro Bay, CA phone (805) 704-2064; Volunteer Docent, California State Parks.

-----Original Message-----

From: Steve_Henry@[remove]r1.fws.gov [mailto:Steve_Henry@[remove]r1.fws.gov]
Sent: Wednesday, June 11, 2003 9:36 AM
To: mike@[remove]mikebaird.com
Cc: alueker@[remove]morro-bay.ca.us
Subject: SNPL nest at Cloisters

Mr. Baird,

I was forwarded the email below regarding the plover nest at the Cloisters. I am concerned that activities shown in the photos, such as approaching a nest to measure eggs or photograph it to scale, may have been done by persons not permitted to undertake such activities. Showing these pictures on a website may lead others to believe that this is an acceptable activity. Also, erecting an exclosure around a western snowy plover nest should only be done by permitted persons trained in erecting exclosures. Conducting these type of activities without training and being permitted could lead to take of this federally listed species. I have tried to call you at the number listed below, but have been unsuccessful. Please contact me if you have any questions.

Steve

P.S. It is not unusual for plovers to nest in habitat similar to what is shown in the pictures found on the website listed below. The coastal population of western snowy plovers can nest a mile or more inland from the ocean on substrate ranging from dirt to concrete.

Steve Henry
Senior Biologist
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
2493 Portola Road, Suite B
Ventura, CA 93003
(805) 644-1766 (office)
(805) 644-3958 (fax)
steve_henry@[remove]r1.fws.gov

----- Forwarded by Steve Henry/VFWO/R1/FWS/DOI on 06/11/03 09:08 AM -----

<< Andrea Lueker, alueker@[remove]morro-bay.ca.us (805) 772-6278
6-9-03 Morro Bay

A Western Snowy Plover nest (we saw one parent with three eggs) was discovered inland in the Morro Bay Cloister's drainage area today. Since this nest is on City park property, would you please consider erecting a temporary enclosure like a plastic construction fence to protect this nest? There is regular foot traffic in the area and the nest is quite vulnerable. The nest is marked with ten small one-foot wood sticks in a 12' diameter circle around the nest, but they are not very visible.

Details of location, photos etc. are documented at http://morro-bay.com/birding/plover/ . The nest is known to be at least one week old. The nest identification was confirmed by local birding expert and State Park docent Freeman Hall (805) 772-3578. This is an interesting observation because popular theory is that (the "coastal-location species" of) these threatened birds nest only on beach areas, and not in nearby inland areas.

One argument for the aggressive protection of the Morro Strand State Beach Snowy Plover nesting habitat is that these birds can not nest elsewhere nearby.  Is this a counter-example, or does this represent the successful coping of one bird displaced from a preferable nesting area? Interesting questions I'm sure for our local birders and fellow naturalists.

Best Regards, Mike Baird
Mike Baird mike@[remove]mikebaird.com http://mikebaird.com http://morro-bay.com Morro Bay, CA phone (805) 704-2064; Volunteer Docent, California State Parks


Note added to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/slocobirding/message/2373 post:

If you go to observe this nest, please do so from a respectful distance, as
the parent bird appears to be much more aware of and fearful of intruders
than those found in the sandy beach areas on Morro Strand.


Remedy:

From: Andrea Lueker [mailto:ALueker@[remove]morro-bay.ca.us]

Sent: Wednesday, June 11, 2003 12:05 PM

To: mike@[remove]mikebaird.com

Cc: Bob Hendrix; Rob Schultz

Subject: Birds

Mike,

The City is the group that has coordinated the efforts to construct the enclosure and also worked with Steve of Fish and Wildlife.

Andrea Lueker