Edited and Compiled by
Robert 'Roy' J. van de Hoek
Field Biologist & Geographer
Sierra Club Chairman
Ballona Wetlands Task Force
November 8, 2002
The nesting ground is a white sandy cape or narrow strip of land between Ballona Swamp and the ocean about two miles long and two hundred yards wide. This place during the fall high tides is completely flooded and deposits of small rocks and broken shells are left there. Among these the plovers place their nests. On approaching it one may be attracted by noticing the little fellows running about on the sand in front of him, or occasionally flying in low wide circles uttering a pleading whistle so characteristic of this species. This whistle I have learned is a danger signal that I am near their nests, and on looking over the ground carefully I may be able to notice fine bird tracks in the white sand or in the patches of white sand between the shells and rocks.
In going over the ground carefully where the tracks are the thickest a nest will generally be found. Sometimes the birds will build among the small rocks where the tracks cannot be seen and here the eggs are safe as their coloration protects them, for they look exactly like small rocks. The nests are, as a rule, found by a mark of some kind, a bone of some animal, a small dead weed, or a bit of drift-wood and are slight depressions in the sand. Some are completely lined with broken shells of fish bones with the eggs pointed towards the center, very close together and about half buried in the nest lining. A pair of birds will build several nests during a season and only use one; for I have found nests all fixed up and completely surrounded with tracks. This I noticed especially in 1901 and I found about three times as many unused nests as used ones. During this season I visited Ballona about three times a week and gave the birds careful study.
-- W. Lee Chambers, Santa Monica, California.
Furthermore, the experts on Snowy Plover restoration and recovery work at for the state of California and the federal government. There are virtually no experts on Snowy Plover in the private sector, other than myself and a few others. The state of California and the federal government, nor myself at Ballona Institute and Wetlands Action Network, have been asked by Playa Vista or Friends of Ballona Wetlands to assist in bringing back the Snowy Plover to the private lands at Ballona. Is not the conclusion to be drawn that there is only pseudo-restoration taking place as a public relations stunt? Is Playa Vista and Friends of Ballona Wetlands (FBW) doing only fake restoration?
It seems genuine and true restoration never happened at Ballona. All of us as citizens and generally good-natured folk, if we care about nature and the Snowy Plover, need to be aware that no restoration and recovery of the Plover is occurring at Ballona. All that you hear is merely talk, and hot air, by the Friends of Ballona Wetlands and Playa Vista. Those three are quite a trio of talkers. On the other hand however, the Sierra Club does care about restoration. The Sierra Club cares about nature. The Sierra Club cares about the Snowy Plover. The Sierra Club is working hard toward making a BALLONA STATE PARK. Join us in the venture. Nature and the Snowy Plover will then be restored and recovered at Ballona.