Snowy Plover


Snowy Plover Research
Salton Sea

Summer 2001, 85-118 degrees

Three days a week, for three long, hot months during the spring and summer of 2001, Bob Miller monitored Snowy Plover nesting at the Salton Sea, under the guidance and tutelage of Kathy Molina.  

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.

Iberia Wash

Three sites were monitored along the West shore in conjunction with numerous other studies. Bats, bugs, retiles, plants, etc. Iberia Wash, near Salton City, is one of many areas at the Salton Sea favored by Snowy Plovers. 
Snowy's prefer the salt flats and barnacle bars where the temperatures can be brutal. The nests are very hard to spot and much time is spent just standing in the sun watching behavior through spotting scopes.  Note the nest in the top photo (to the right) is located entirely within the heel area of one of our own footprints!  The first nests were located in early April, and by the end of July, all young had been fledged.

Snowy Plover Nest with Eggs

Snowy Plover Nest with Eggs

Snowy Plover Chick

Snowy Plover Chick

Snowy Plover


Lesser Nighthawk Chicks

Snowy Plovers weren't the only species around.  Numerous shorebirds, waders, raptors, and passerines used the area on a daily basis.  These young Lesser Nighthawks had a nest on the ground under a mesquite tree. A few Horned Lark fledged young in the washes. Rarities seen along the shore included Semi-palmated Sandpiper and Least and Elegant Terns.


These are two other nests which were in the study area.  Note the relatively large size of the Avocet eggs (penny on the right of the photo). American Avocet and Black-necked Stilt began their nesting a bit later. Snowy Plover is as much an actor as the stilts if you get too close to their nest, feigning wing injury and attempting to draw you away.  They would actually come closer than the stilts in their attempts to distract.    




Avocet Nest with Eggs 

Black-necked Stilt Nest with Eggs

Black-necked Stilt

Photos Bob Miller