Ocean Beach Off-Leash Closure
Plover or Sanderling?
The Closure
Hatch Report Analysis
Plover or Sanderling?
Take me Home

Which of these are Western Snowy Plovers?




Perhaps you need some additional clues?

The Western Snowy Plover(s) pictured above as described by the NPS are approximately 6 inches, with pale backs and plump profiles. They have dark markings across the forehead, behind the eyes, and forming a partial breast band. According to the NPS, the WSP roosts at Ocean Beach and feed on insects on the kelp and other debris left from the high tide.

The Sanderling(s) pictured above are approximately 7 inches and have less distinctive markings than the Plover. They feed in the surf on exposed crustaceans in the retreating waves.

To make matters more confusing, the NPS tells us that "on Ocean Beach, Snowy Plovers often hang out with other shorebirds, especially Sanderlings...If these shorebirds are resting hunkered down in depressions in the sand, they are almost impossible to distinguish from each other."

Since we have not been provided the credentials of the volunteers or GGNRA personnel who supposedly collected the data regarding the number of Western Snowy Plovers roosting at Ocean Beach and Crissy Field, it calls into question the validity of their data.  The fact that the GGNRA has illegally withheld this data from OBDOG despite a legal Freedom Of Information Act request (actually the GGNRA claimed the data did not exist) raises still more suspicion.  Historically, to justify the banning of off-leash dogs as the only management measure taken to protect the Plover, the NPS has stated: "Park visitors such as joggers, walkers and horseback riders do not seem to bother the birds.  However, dogs focus their chase on plovers and other shorebirds, greatly disturbing them".  This statement is in conflict with all other known observational studies regarding disturbance of the Plover, and at Ocean Beach previous studies documented that for every thousand dogs observed at Ocean Beach only three chased Plovers.  In the face of this lack of verifiable data, conclusions that contradict even the most cursory of observations, and documented bias on the part of GGNRA staff, why would we now accept the GGNRA's declaration of an Emergency at Ocean Beach and Crissy Field as justifiable or credible?


(1) Western Snowy Plover
(2) Sanderling
(3) Western Snowy Plover

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