Ormond Beach, Oxnard California
Trail cameras are a great tool for nest monitoring. We are only in the habitat briefly each week, so a lot happens that we miss. Trail cameras are inexpensive motion activated cameras that take a short high definition video when triggered, and at night they can record black and white images with infrared imagery. We use them as a tool to document nest hatching or predation. But they also show us people who have ignored the habitat fences that delineate closed nesting areas. Most cameras are watching nests, so these videos shows us how close some nests have come to being trampled, even though they are in closed areas. We've also had cameras moved or stolen. All the cameras are behind fences that are posted with signs that clearly state the habitat is closed to entry during nesting season. Faces of minors have been obscured.
There is an area behind the north habitat where a dirt road on private property dead ends behind the habitat fence. This is a location that is routinely vandalized by people trespassing on the property, and occasionally we put a camera inside the habitat in this area. We've created a line of T-posts with signs to make if very clear the area is closed.
We have encountered people who walk their dogs from the end of McWane Blvd along a dirt road, despite no trespassing signs. This family was looking for a way to walk their really big dog to the beach, through least tern nesting habitat. They did not enter the nesting habitat. This demonstrates the need for a good fence that is well marked in this location.
Not everyone obeys the signs and fence in this location. This pair entered many times with their off leash dogs. The last bit of this video demonstrates that they knew exactly what they were doing.
Nests Nearly Stepped On
This fisherman looks for sea glass inside the habitat and has been caught inside by our monitors and been told he can't be in there. It has not stopped him. Nest is a sequence of videos from multiple days he walked around a single nest. Note the time and date stamp in the lower left. Midway through the adult bird can be seeing doing a distraction display when he was very near the nest.
Other nests we the fisheman has been near.
I've never seen a nest that was nearly stepped on so many times. This is a least tern nest. Also inside nesting habitat fences that are marked as closed during nesting season.
The following video is a couple years old. For awhile we experimented with symbolic fencing instead of mesh. Our hope was that people would obey the signs and respect the boundary. But the following family was caught many times inside the fences. This particular video shows the toddler with his hands inside a predator exclosure that is on an active nest. He probably can see the eggs and is trying to reach for them.
This camera was keeping an eye on the edge of the fence where ATV's had broken through. It was inside the fence, again in an area with signs. The camera was almost stolen, but it was locked to a rod buried in the ground.
This camera wasn't stolen, but it was moved off of a nest and we missed the hatch.
This camera was stolen, but luckily it was returned to the police station and they gave it back to us.