The Tweet Life

Snowy plovers still making nesting attempts on Siesta Key

In her June 7 update about the snowy plovers on Siesta Key, Kylie Wilson, coordinator of Audubon Florida’s Bird Monitoring & Stewardship program in the county, wrote about stormy conditions on Siesta Beach as a result of Tropical Storm Cristobal’s passage through the Gulf of Mexico.

“There weren’t any known Snowy Plover nests,” she continued, “but we did have a pair that were maintaining a scrape and the female looked very gravid.”

Sarasota photographer Lou Newman, captured a Snowy Plover and her chicks, nesting on the beach. Photo courtesy of Sarasota Audubon Society.

The birds literally scrape the sand to create a nest. “Gravid” means a female bird is ready to lay eggs.

“There had been two pairs consistently throughout the week,” but on June 7, Wilson continued, she saw six snowy plovers, “including the banded Ms. Sanibel.”

Ms. Sanibel is so named because that is where she was banded several years ago.

“Today, almost all of the north end of the beach was flooded so I temporarily removed part of the enclosures that were being washed over,” Wilson wrote of the tape and posts she erects to try to protect nesting areas.

The buffer around the property owned by the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, and the north end of Siesta in general, “were heavily flooded,” she noted.

Then, on the night of June 14, Wilson sent out a new update, reporting that she had seen up to three pairs of plovers “prospecting for territory” on Siesta. She had found several fresh scrapes, she added. “At least one of the female plovers looked very gravid so hopefully she will settle on a scrape and soon have a nest!”

“Another exciting find — this week I saw Least Tern fledges on Siesta for the first time this season,” Wilson continued. “There are no Least Tern colonies on Siesta,” she added, “which means these birds are already dispersing from their nesting sites.” “Least Terns are completely migratory, and they will return to South America at the end of the summer,” Wilson explained.