- From 5 April – 21 September 2012 we monitored the distribution, abundance and productivity of the federally Threatened Western Snowy Plover (Charadrius nivosus 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 Snowy Plover Management Area, New River HRA and adjacent lands, and Floras Lake. Our objectives for the Oregon coastal population in 2012 were to: 1) estimate the size of the adult Snowy Plover population, 2) locate plover nests, 3) determine nest success, 4) use mini-exclosures (MEs) to protect nests from predators as needed, 5) determine fledging success, 6) monitor brood movements, 7) collect general observational data about predators, and 8) evaluate the effectiveness of predator management.
We observed an estimated 290-91 adult Snowy Plovers; a minimum of 231-238 individuals was known to have nested. The adult plover population was the highest estimate recorded since monitoring began in 1990. We monitored 314 nests in 2012; the highest number of nests since monitoring began in 1990. Overall apparent nest success was 45%. Exclosed nests (n = 22) had an 82% apparent nest success rate, and unexclosed nests (n = 289) had a 42% apparent nest success rate. Nest failures were attributed to unknown depredation, unknown cause, corvid depredation, abandonment, one egg nests, wind/weather, mammalian depredation, overwashing, adult plover depredation, and infertility. We monitored 154 broods, including 11 from unknown nests, and documented a minimum of 173 fledglings. Overall brood success was 70%, fledging success was 43%, and 1.37 fledglings per male were produced.
Continued predator management, habitat improvement and maintenance, and management of recreational activities at all sites are recommended to achieve recovery goals.