Western Snowy Plover Nesting. Photo Credit - Matt Lau

This spring, while we are out hiking, biking, and enjoying the spring sunshine, the beaches and the longer days, PRNSA would like to remind our fellow park lovers about the other creatures who share our park. Point Reyes is home to over 1,500 species of plants and animals. While the diversity of species found here year-round is incredibly dynamic, March through September are some of the most important months to be aware of sensitive habitats found in the park. This "peak time" for human activities at the Seashore also coincides with the western snowy plover breeding season and prime pupping season for harbor seals. PRNSA is proud to support conservation work that protects the park's rich flora, fauna, and varied habitats.

A recent incident where an off-leash dog killed a Guadalupe fur seal in the park reminded me of the story and lessons from an article in our magazine last year about the western snowy plovers. The dog was not only off leash, but also in a restricted beach area where snowy plovers breed and nest. I invite you to read (or re-read) the article below. The plover story is one of fragile hope that relies on us to have a happy ending.

Below also are guidelines for visiting beaches during the plover breeding season. Another way you can help is by supporting our conservation work with a gift. The next time you find yourself walking on the beach, notice how the tides restore balance in the coastal ecosystem and think of the work we do, year-round, to protect and preserve this place we all love. Every day we work to restore, protect, educate, and above all, maintain balance here at the Seashore. Please consider joining us as a High Tide Monthly Supporter . It is the greenest, easiest way to show your support for Point Reyes National Seashore Association.

Last, but not least, Happy Mother's Day to all the moms who will visit the park this weekend. We are lucky to share this incredible place with mothers of many species.

Donna Faure Signature
Donna Faure
Executive Director
Surveying Snowy Plovers:
A Biologist's Beach Walk
by David Pascoe
On a foggy Monday morning at North Beach in Point Reyes National Seashore, park biologist Matt Lau stands over a spotting scope and scans the sandy horizon for signs of new life. After nearly two miles of walking, stopping, and surveying empty beach 100 feet at a time, he has spotted the day's first breeding western snowy plover adults, and they are exhibiting the broody parenting behavior that tells Lau they have offspring nearby. Minutes of stillness pass before Lau spots a chick hiding in a clump of grass. He pulls a field notebook out of his backpack, takes down GPS coordinates, records the colors of each adult's bands - aqua and violet regional bands on the left leg represent Point Reyes - and moves on to the next 100 feet of his day's five-mile survey. Continued...

Seasonal Updates

March 1 - June 30: Harbor Seal Pupping Season
Park closures in effect at:
  • Drakes Estero
  • Double Point
  • western end of Limantour Spit

March 1 - September 30: Western Snowy Plover Nesting Season
Park closures in effect at:
  • Kehoe Beach - south of the trail at Kehoe Beach
  • North Beach - to the north of the North Beach parking lot

A Guide to Protecting Plover Habitat

  • Respect posted habitat areas
  • Stay at least 50 feet away from the birds and nests
  • Walk dogs only where authorized and always on leash
  • Properly dispose of garbage to avoid attracting predators
  • Leave driftwood lying on the sand. It provides nesting and feeding habitat for plovers. Upright wood provides perches for predatory birds.
  • Report unprotected nests
  • Walk near the water line on the beach
  • Share knowledge with others
  • Volunteer to restore plover habitat - Click HERE if interested in becoming a docent.
Point Reyes National Seashore | (415) 663-1200 x 310 |  info@ptreyes.org www.ptreyes.org