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Nest Survey - Week 6 update

Ormond Beach, Oxnard California - 4/22/24

Total Nests

Active Nests

Hatched Nests

Failed Nests

Snowy Plover

19

16

0

3

Least Tern

0

0

0

0

During week 6 we had we had to do our survey on 2 difference days because of bad weather, Monday April 15th and Friday April 19th. Our team found 5 more snowy plover nests.


Collage of new snowy plover nests

Unfortunately, we've experienced two more failed nests this week. While we're still reviewing trail camera footage, we haven't observed any predators near the nests or signs of damaged eggs. Instead, the eggs are simply missing or buried. At this juncture, it seems likely that weather conditions are to blame. As an example, there's a killdeer nest in the habitat that we've been monitoring, which was set to hatch. However, this week, one of its four eggs was missing, and the nest appeared abandoned. Notably, the adult bird was absent, which is a recurring trend among nests currently. Nevertheless, with the weather expected to stabilize, we remain hopeful for successful nest hatches in the weeks ahead.


Killdeer nest with 3 abandoned eggs
Tracks in habitat

This week, we discovered tire tracks and footprints across multiple fenced nesting areas, leaving us puzzled by the unusual combination of tire tracks and footprints. These tracks breached the habitat fences and cut through the middle of at least two fenced areas, passing by four active snowy plover nests, including our trail cameras. Despite numerous close encounters with our cameras, none were stolen, which struck me as quite perplexing. Fortunately, none of the nests were crushed, although one of our cameras was run over.


Mystery tracks through nesting habitat (above)
Camera knocked over, about 3 feet from the nest

Upon reviewing the trail camera footage, I managed to piece together the puzzle. By analyzing the dates and time stamps on the videos, it reveals that someone had dragged a wagon through the habitats. On the night of April 16th, the first nest was passed at 8:20pm when the camera was run over, the last nest was passed at 8:53 pm . Although the video quality isn't great, if you look closely, you can make out the movement of the wagon passing by the camera. The nest is between the camera and the wagon and fortunately was missed by the wagon wheels.




Regrettably, until the restoration efforts at Ormond Beach progress and the property is (hopefully) transferred into a national wildlife reserve, our options to address such activities remain limited. However, we plan to assemble a fence repair team next week to replace the knocked-down posts in hopes of deterring similar incidents in the future.






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