“People often ask me how it is that I seem to be so much at peace. There is a primary reason — and it is available to all who wish to have it. Here’s a simple prerequisite to attaining peace at that level. I invite you to observe the beasts, birds and fish and let them teach you. Let this be a daily routine and life, as you know it, will never be the same.”
– Eddie Bo

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Day 148 - Snowy Plovers

A Big Year - let's face it, this is a rather selfish endeavor.  Sure, pleasurable for that participants, but beyond increasing the database of observed birds there is little or no benefit for society at large.  So I was pleased today to be able to volunteer my time at the Coal Oil Point Reserve, monitoring the nesting Snowy Plovers during beach cleanup efforts after the recent oil spill.  As I rode my bike there I will include it as a part of the Green Big Year.

For a few days after the oil spill the beach at the reserve remained free of oil.  That changed, and more recently each high tide has brought a fresh round of oil to the beach.  Yesterday was one of the worst days with lots of black gooey blobs - the photos were quite discouraging.  Thankfully the cleanup crew did a great job and this morning things did not look so bad.

Today the crew was able to make good progress scooping up oil blobs and oily kelp, placing them in plastic bags and hauling them away.  I was impressed with their awareness of of the birds and willingness to adjust their usual cleanup methods to be less disruptive to the nesting Snowy Plovers.  The only disappointment of the day was the helicopter (being used by the pipeline operator, according to UCSB officials) that buzzed over the reserve far too low on at least 3 occasions.

As monitors our primary duty was to ensure the cleanup activities did not disturb the nesting birds and cause them to leave their nests.  Thankfully there was only one nest near the cleanup activities.  That bird did get up off the nest for a few minutes.  We notified the crew, they quickly finished up, and the bird came back to the nest.  While he was gone (males sit on the eggs during the day, females at night) the three eggs sitting in a shallow depression were clearly visible.

In spite of the circumstances it was a lovely morning at the beach.  It was really nice to spend some quality time with the Snowy Plovers, and it felt good to contribute in some small way to their well being.

Beach Closed!

Cleanup Crew

WAAAY Too Low Flying Helicopter

Snowy Plover - Male

Snowy Plover On Nest

Snowy Plover Nest - 3 Eggs

Young Snowy Plover

After today the year's total still stands at 228. 

Today I rode a total of 24.9 miles

More later,

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