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Snowy plover        Images © Mark A. Chappell

Snowy plovers are charming little birds that nest on salt lakes and beaches.   They closely resemble the piping plover, but are darker above and lack the piping plover's orange legs.  The female snowy plover in the 1981 photos at the bottom of the page was incubating three large eggs on the exposed mineral flats of Mono Lake, California.   The lake level used to be much higher, but feeder stream diversions to the Los Angeles municipal water system (500 km to the south) deprived it of much of its normal annual water fill, and the lake surface elevation had fallen considerably.   I nearly stepped on the incubating bird.   Fortunately, the land bridge where this bird nested is now submerged again, thanks to a landmark legal battle that restored much of the historic streamflow to the lake.   The other birds were at the mouth of the Tijuana River in Imperial Beach, California, Honeymoon Island near Tarpon Springs, Florida, Fort DeSoto Park near St. Petersburg, Florida, Estero Lagoon in Fort Meyers Beach, Florida, and the Salton Sea in southeastern California. The two tiny fluffball chicks (about a week old) were at Bolsa Chica wetlands in coastal Orange County, California.     More photos of snowy plovers are here and here.

  • Nikon F3, 400 mm f5.6 EDIF Nikon lens or 20 mm f4 Nikon lens,, Kodachrome 64 (1981)
  • Canon 10D or 1D Mk.II, 1D3, 1D4, or 7D2; 500 mm IS lens or 800 mm IS lens, some with 1.4X or 2X converter and fill-in flash (2004-2006, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2016)