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Plover Patrol 2016

Do you love plovers?

Would you like to be on the team that spots these birds as they reclaim their historic nesting grounds?

Oregon Parks and Recreation (OPRD) is looking for volunteers to survey for western snowy plover, a threatened shorebird, at four of our State Parks in 2016!

We are very excited that this threatened shorebird is making a comeback, and we need help to track where they are interested in nesting. Last year a pair nested at Nehalem Bay for the first time in 30 years. To help plovers make this comeback, OPRD has four beaches set aside for them where we ask the public to let them nest in peace.

But! We need to know if the plovers are there!


Male Western Snowy Plover patrols Nehalem beach while his mate sat on their nest.

Time commitment is at least 1 survey per month, and each survey usually takes 2-3 hours.  Training is provided on survey protocol and identification. Surveys consist of walking on the beach on a (relatively) nice day, scanning for signs of plovers! Not too shabby. Surveys involve walking the beach and scanning for signs of western snowy plover, documenting potential predators and food sources, and noting recreation uses. Volunteers should be comfortable walking a few miles on the beach in wind and sun or light drizzle. In addition, a 4-hour training is required so that you can be listed as a sub-permittee on OPRD’s Recovery Permit. Don’t worry if that’s confusing – it will be explained during the training.

If you would like to attend a training, even if you don’t want to be a volunteer, please participate in our Doodle Poll: This helps us select the date(s) that work for the most people.

To apply to volunteer, contact




Gearhart Birdy Beach Trail!

In case you missed it in the Daily Astorian article, the new name for the trail along Necanicum Spit is:

Birdy Beach Trail!

The name was submitted by fourth-grader McKenna Roberts, and won out in a public vote over the 30+ entries.

Name the Trail!

Get your vote on!

OPRD, Gearhart Elementary, and the City of Gearhart invite you to help select a name for the new beach trail at Gearhart Ocean State Recreation Area! OPRD went to Gearhart Elementary and presented exciting information about the Esturary, the ocean, and the dunes that are right down the street from their classrooms. Students in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades rose to our challenge, submitting over 30 potential names for this new trail. We ranked the submissions on local, natural, and geographic resources plus that special “Wow!” factor. The students also went out to the beach itself with OPRD Coastal Visitor Experience Coordinator Brian Fowler. They learned more about the history of the area, the power of the ocean, and the creatures that use the beach right here in Gearhart.

Brian Fowler and local students investigate the beach!

Brian Fowler and local students investigate the beach!

Take the Survey

The top ten results are now open for the public to view! Which one is YOUR favorite? The survey closes by midnight on December 1, 2014! Feel free to take a moment and stroll along the trail or check out the photos below, get a feel for the place, and cast your vote! You can access the survey here:

Where is the Trail Located?

In the City of Gearhart, leading from Little Beach at Necanicum Estuary out to Gearhart Ocean State Recreation Area. The new trail is a loop connecting the residential access point with the Little Beach access point near Wellington. Here’s a map!

New trail, ready and waiting for your feet!

New trail, ready and waiting for your feet!


What’s it Like?

The new trail winds through the dunes, letting visitors to shelter from the winds, pause to take in the rugged beauty of the North Coast, and loaf on benches that offer ocean views. The trail takes visitors along the Necanicum Estuary, where they can watch shorebirds and, during the right season, people clamming. Necanicum Estuary is an Important Bird Area, and thousands of migrating shorebirds visit its sands to forage and rest on their twice yearly journeys between breeding and wintering grounds. Eagles, gulls, and herons hang out year round, and maybe Caspian terns or the threatened western snowy plover might decide to nest in the Shorebird Conservation Area adjacent to the trail!

View of Necanicum Estuary from the new trail. At low tide all that sand provides great places for shorebirds to feed!

View of Necanicum Estuary from the new trail. At low tide all that sand provides great places for shorebirds to feed!


View point on the trail

View point on the trail



Students on the beach

Students on the beach

Plover Patrol Flocking up for 2014

Hello Oregonians! We’re looking to start up our Plover Patrol again to hunt for western snowy plover at three of our north coast parks. For more details and to apply, go to our Volunteer Posting.


Plover Patrol is Flocking Up!

Plover Patrol is Flocking Up!