While I was in California in the fall of 2022, I had the opportunity to photograph the threatened Western Snowy Plover. This image was taken from the ground level as I lay in the sand holding my camera and long lens (150-600mm), photographing these tiny special shorebirds.
The Western snowy plover is a very small, rare shorebird that breeds and lives on the Pacific coast in the United States along various beaches. The Western snowy plover, Pacific coast population, has been listed as a Threatened Species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS). These six-inch shorebirds have been listed on the ESA since 1993. Even though they are making some progress in coming back, the threatened Western snowy plover is still listed under the ESA.
Their major threats to survival as a species and the cause of their decreased population over the years are due to habitat loss (beach erosion), human disturbance, and even predation. These challenges make it very difficult for this small population that breeds and nests on beaches to have successful breeding and nesting seasons.