This week was pretty eventful. We had our first and second official surveys at Ballona Creek. The tides were later in the day, so when we finished we were rewarded by a beautiful sunset. We mostly see willets, but we were able to see marbled godwits, whimbrels, and dowitchers. We also saw surfbirds for the first time, and it took us some time to identify them. Doing the survey is an enjoyable experience because we are outdoors, at the beach, and nothing is on our mind except the birds. It is very relaxing.
This week I also helped with habitat restoration in an area that is protected for Least Terns. The area is divided into quadrants, and the objective this past Saturday was to remove the vegetation completely in some of the quadrants. All of the plants, including the native plants, were pulled out. The native plants were piled together and were buried in a different area of the enclosure so that it can begin to form new dunes. The non-natives were thrown out because they are invasive. I learned that crows are a big problem for the least terns because the crows attack them and their eggs. I am looking forward to this Saturday because they will set up traps to catch and tag the crows. I will be assisting with the tagging and probably putting transmitters on them because they want to see where exactly the crows go.
I also helped set up a boundary at Malibu Lagoon to keep beach-goers away from the nesting snowy plovers. We set up a boundary that ran 400 ft. with stakes and rope. It was easier than I imagined it would be. I got to use the stake pounder to drive the stakes into the sand. That was exciting! We also saw three snowy plovers when we finished setting up the boundary. They gave us a thumbs up (or so we like to think) and then continued to run around and chase each other. It was a great week.