- From 2 April – 14 September 2006, we monitored the distribution, abundance and productivity of the federally Threatened Western Snowy Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus) along the Oregon coast. From north to south, we surveyed and monitored plover activity at Sutton Beach, Siltcoos River estuary, the Dunes overlook, North Tahkenitch Creek, Tenmile Creek, Coos Bay North Spit, Bandon Beach, and New River. Our objectives for the Oregon coastal population in 2006 were to: 1) estimate the size of the adult Snowy Plover population, 2) locate plover nests, 3) continue use of miniexclosures (MEs) to protect nests from predators and evaluate whether exclosure use can be reduced, 4) determine nest success, 5) determine fledgling success, 6) monitor brood movements, 7) collect general observational data about predators, and 8) evaluate the success of predator management.
We observed an estimated 177-179 adult Snowy Plovers; a minimum of 135 individuals was known to have nested. The adult plover population was the highest estimate recorded since monitoring began in 1990, and we found the highest number of nests since monitoring began in 1990 (n = 147). Overall Mayfield nest success was 38%. Exclosed nests (n=68) had a 60% success rate, and unexclosed nests (n=79) had a 40% success rate. Nest failures were attributed to unknown depredation (18%), unknown cause (18%), one egg nests (16%), wind/weather (13%), abandonment (13%), corvid depredation (10%), adult plover depredation (6%), infertility (4%), and red fox (Vulpes vulpes) depredation (1%). We monitored 84 broods, including 15 from unknown nests, and documented a minimum of 109 fledglings, the highest number of fledglings since monitoring began in 1990. One other chick was raised in captivity at Newport Aquarium and released. Overall brood success was 76%, and fledgling success was 48%. Continued predator management, habitat improvement and maintenance, and management of recreational activities at all sites are recommended to achieve recovery goals.