I may have omitted an important detail in my last post about the Five-Plover morning. I didn’t just see one Snowy Plover. I saw the whole family: Mom, Dad, and two tiny adorable babies! :)
These plovers are loving the breeding habitat on Outback Key. When a woman asked if I was interested in babies, of course I said yes! She pointed out their general location and I later spotted them running around the beach. The best moments were when the babies ran to cuddle under Mom’s wing.
The Snowy Plover babies are quite independent. They spent the morning darting around the beach, supervised only minimally by their frazzled parents. It’s hard work keeping up with tiny fuzzballs! I settled down in the sand to watch and chuckle. I was careful to stay still so as to not disturb them.
This one made me chuckle. Such long legs, they are hard to keep in line! Or maybe the baby needed to use the restroom…
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to see Snowy Plover babies in Fort Myers. Those babies were very hard to photograph as they darted around in the snow-white sand. The De Soto babies were a little easier to track in the grassy beach vegetation. It’s hard to convey their size in these images, but these babies were literally sized like cotton balls attached to q-tips.
At one point, Mom sounded the alarm as a bigger bird flew by. The baby near me immediately dove down next to a seashell and became very still. A few seconds later, Mom gave the all-clear.
Snowy Plovers are a threatened species in Florida, and finding small babies is a special treat. It was hard to tear myself away from this little family. This little chick stood his tallest in the short beach grasses to bid me farewell. :)