According to the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF), the first snowy plover nest of the season on Sanibel was staked on March 22 and, as of last Friday, there were two eggs. SCCF coordinates the monitoring of snowy plover nesting on the island.
Snowy plovers nest on the beach. SCCF stakes protective exclosures around snowy plover nests. People are requested not to enter the staked exclosures and keep dogs out as well. When snowy plovers are not moving, they are extremely well camouflaged. If a snowy plover is flushed from its nest, it takes very little time for the hot sun to damage the eggs.
The snowy plover is a state-listed, threatened species on Sanibel. The most recent estimate indicates that around 200 pairs of snowy plovers remain along the west coast of Florida, from the Panhandle through Cape Sable.
A snowy plover chick and her eggs.
Snowy plover nesting season runs through August, and they can nest two or three times in one season.
For more information, visit SCCF's Web site at sccf.org/content/80/Snowy-Plover-Project.aspx.
SCCF is dedicated to the conservation of coastal habitats and aquatic resources on Sanibel and Captiva and in the surrounding watershed through environmental education, land acquisition, landscaping for wildlife, marine research, natural resource policy, sea turtle conservation and wildlife habitat management.
As part of the SCCF Marine Laboratory's work, real-time water quality data from the SCCF RECON (River, Estuary & Coastal Observing Network) sensors can be found online at www.recon.sccf.org. Community support through membership dues and tax-deductible contributions makes this work possible.