Threatened resident Florida species Snowy Plovers... What must it take, one gets to
wonder, for these precious few survivors of this bird species to regain a small fraction of
what was once their living space on the endless beaches of Sanibel Island..?
The 2 wide photographs were taken in Oct. 2001, at a time -off season- when they can
gather here in somewhat larger numbers, and do so fairly undisturbed. Would it be so
difficult to create a wildlife protection area at this stretch of beach along East Gulf Drive,
some 3 to 500 yards of it, for the island's Snowies which do represent quite a significant percentage of Florida's total..? One could imagine a boardwalk as an overpass...
Or, at least, reserve this stretch of shoreline every spring, from March to June perhaps,
so the population of these birds could have a comeback of sorts. It is being done in other
parts of the country for various types of wildlife. Why not here..? The Island prides itself
on being "a haven for wildlife, especially birds"... True, to a degree, with -notably- the
Nature Center and the reputed "J. N. Ding Darling" National Wildlife Refuge."
The small population of Snowy Plovers however, needs to have its refuge right here.
This is a habitat, their habitat, which is suitable for their survival and perhaps even revival,
however limited. Above: the far stretch of sand just under the grassy area is where some of
them continue to mate and breed against many odds. Below we have quite a congregation,
13 visible, plus a few resting behind shells etc. (Also 1 unmarked Sanderling ...)
Footnote: I do return to this portion of the island off and on. Except for warning signs and caution tape not much is being done to assist the birds during their breeding season.
The highest count, confirmed by other concerned Birders, was 14... In other words,
they're barely holding. Reoccurring hurricanes didn't improve their lot either.