Sandspit Snowies

Hugh Ranson

An update regarding the Snowy Plovers at the Santa Barbara Harbor sandspit. Late yesterday afternoon, March 27th, there were 18 birds present, 16 that kept in a loose group, and 2 (a male and female) that kept to themselves. I tried to ascertain the sexes of the birds, and believe it's approx. 50/50. There was a recent king tide, but there is still plenty of habitat remaining--I estimated 70 yards of sand at the widest point.

Now the bad news. I was hoping that the virus would help keep the birds relatively unmolested, but in the 20 minutes I was there, an off-leash dog chased the flock (minus the 2 which escaped the dog's attentions). The flock landed close to a family which was playing soccer. The father deliberately kicked the ball at the flock and put them again to flight. His son said, "Dad, those are Snowy Plovers--they're endangered. That's not cool." There's still hope for the world, I guess.

Hugh Ranson
Santa Barbara

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