The Snowy Plovers Are Back

The snowy plover is about five inches long and finds it easy to burrow in the sand.
Snowy plovers nest in sandy beaches. I use a telephoto lens so as not to scare them.

Cold winds sweep over Carmel River State Beach. Pelicans and sea gulls enjoying the absence of humans, flock to surf’s edge. Almost unseen in all of this are tiny birds burrowing in the sand–the endangered snow plover. Researchers claim there are only about 2,500 snowy plovers along the Pacific Coast. Therefore, it was refreshing to see them at the beach this week, about 30 feet from scores of pelicans and sea gulls.

The Games Pelicans Play

Brown pelicans take flight just before the surf crashes on the beach.
This pelican and two sea gulls waited their turn to challenge the surf.
But this pelican wasn’t taking any chances–that is a nasty surf.
Brown pelicans at surf”s edge, calmly waiting until the last second. Note how the beach slopes towards the ocean.

On November 15 and 16 the highest tides of the year are expected along the Monterey Coast. In preparation for this event, brown pelicans and a few sea gulls challenge the rough surf at Carmel River State Beach. The birds wait for the last second to take off before the surf crashes on the deeply sloped sand. This game is not recommend for flightless humans.

The Transition of Power

In the animal world instinct usually dictates the transition of power. In the photos one scrub jay has a seed, puts it in the mouth of a counterpart, then withdraws it. Seems unfair, or at least mean. (I think the power jay here is teaching the other about eating.)But take our presidential election where the loser refuses to lose and, instead, would rather create chaos that might lead to violence–very unfair and very mean.

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