By Plover and Tern Program Director Ben Pearl
... Snowy Plover breeding habitat at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve in Hayward by holding a one day volunteer event known as the Mud Stomp. This year's events will be on March 28. As the name implies, a core component of this event is to stomp in the mud (though not too deep) to create more texture on the otherwise flat ponds. When available, we have also spread oyster shells or gravel afterwards to add additional texture and color to the pond. Since Snowy Plovers rely upon camouflage to evade predators at all life stages, stomping on the mud and spreading shells or gravel help to increase the effectiveness of Snowy Plover camouflage, helping to improve survival of adults, nests, and chicks. In addition, Snowy Plovers will often use footprints to nest in, so we are helping them get a head start on the breeding season by providing nest scrapes!
Joining us this year for the Mud Stomp (and future SFBBO events) will be Andytown Coffee Roasters! Located in San Francisco, and widely considered one of the best coffee roasters in the Bay Area, they are also the only other organization in the Bay Area whose love for Snowy Plovers can rival our own! Our biologists have been venturing up to San Francisco for years to get one of their signature drinks, the Snowy Plover, so when Andytown approached us about forming a partnership to work together for Snowy Plover recovery, we were more than thrilled. To start the partnership off, on Sunday, March 22nd they will celebrate their 6th Anniversary at their original Lawton location in the Outer Sunset District, including a fundraiser that will benefit SFBBO’s Snowy Plover Program! The following weekend, Andytown will be sending down their staff to the Mud Stomp to serve up coffee and pastries to get everyone fueled up to stomp.
If you are interested in attending the Mud Stomp event or becoming a Snowy Plover volunteer surveyor or docent, contact me at email@example.com for more information.
Ben Pearl, M.s., is the plover and tern program director at SFBBO. Ben grew up in San Luis Obispo, where he attained an early love for nature exploring the nearby tide pools and oak forests. He completed his B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at U.C. Santa Cruz, and first came to SFBBO while beginning his Masters at San Jose State University. For his Master’s thesis, he examined how various factors affect plover foraging habitat selection during the winter in the South San Francisco Bay. His favorite part of field work is seeing plover and tern chicks hatch and grow to become adults, especially when they are banded and he can keep track of them over the years. He also enjoys sharing his knowledge of these special birds through guided bird walks and public presentations.
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