The Snowy Plover, a shorebird, can only be described as cute. They are just cute critters. On the West Coast, they are considered endangered. This is why their nesting grounds on the Oregon Coast are roped off and protected during nesting season. They nest in the sand and those nests are difficult to discern. So just don’t walk past the roped off areas.
The season for nesting grounds protection is March 15 through September 15 each year. They nest in the dry sand and not the wet sand and nothing is permitted in the restricted areas—no people, pets, ATVs, vehicles, campfires, horses, kites or bicycles allowed.
There are 18 miles of Oregon Coast devoted to the protection of the Snowy Plover’s nesting grounds including areas of the North Spit of Coos Bay, New River/Floras Lake south of Bandon and just south of Florence.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed these Oregon Coast cuties as endangered in 1993. In the 30 years hence, the population has increased dramatically thanks to management and the public that recreates on the beaches.
At Florence, the Snowy Plovers share the beach with a very active ATV population. However, when you climb up over the dune, the ATVs must travel north to ride. Turning south is the protected nesting grounds and it is very peaceful and quite there.
And if you walk the beach north with the ATVs, you will come across small flocks of Snowy Plovers feeding in the shallow surf. They will move together as you approach and may take flight briefly but not far off the sand as they don’t fly much or very high. Mostly they patter across the sandy surf close to the drier sand. It is a thrilling sight to see.
Come visit us at www.umpquahaven.com as we are just 36 miles from the Snowy Plover nesting grounds near Florence and 45 to 70 miles from Coos Bay and Bandon respectively. It’s a fun day trip to the beach!