The Western Snowy Plover- A Closer Look

Today I would like to take a closer look at the Western snowy plover (Charadrius nivosus nivosus). I became inspired to learn more about this elusive bird by a very close interaction that I had with two plovers up North on the Central Coast over at Surf Beach, Lompoc (see down below for more information)

The Western snowy plover is a wader and one of the smallest shorebirds in Southern California, as it is onlyTheize of a sparrow. In fact, the chicks are so tiny that they can easily be mistaken for cotton balls!

Bird Species of Special Conservation Concern in California

scientific classification snowy plover

Due to low population and habitat loss, the Western snowy plover was listed by the federal government as threatened on March 5, 1993. They prefer to nest on beaches, estuaries, peninsulas, bays, salt pans, and rivers in Oregon and California.

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Touring Ocean Beach Park-Lompoc, CA

Ocean Beach Park Lompoc featured image

Did I ever mention that my husband is originally from Lompoc? It is an inside joke between us- a small-town boy meeting a city girl. So, where is Lompoc, which is pronounced LOM-poke? Located 268 miles northwest of San Diego, Lompoc is often referred to as the flower seed capital of the world. The town was established in 1888 and is located in Santa Barbara County on the Central Coast of California. It is a small agricultural town that the Vandenberg Airforce Base surrounds. I informed my husband that if we were to visit,  my one desire was to go to the ocean. So we went to Ocean Beach Park in Lompoc, CA, and I am here to share.

Why Lompoc?

Lompoc Map central southern california

A little back story-We just celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary this past July 4, so we decided to go to Las Vegas to commemorate the joyous occasion.

It was nice to revisit where we were married (Treasure Island) and reminisce. On a side note, it was not pleasant to go to Las Vegas during Quarantine 2020, but that is not what this post is about, so I digress.

After we were done with the ridiculous heat of Nevada (100 degrees plus), we headed northwest for six hours to see family in  Lompoc. As a rule, it is almost always chilly and overcast there. And to say that I was looking forward to not being so hot is an understatement!

Noting that we were only in town for less than a day, I thought it would be an outstanding idea to have the family meet us over at Ocean Beach Park for a pizza picnic.

It was perfect timing without even knowing just how lucky we were. If this had been any other time before 2020, we would not have been able to enter Ocean Beach Park.

More on this later.

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Wardholme Tree You Took My Breath Away!

Wardholme torrey pine featured image me looking up

Last month, my husband and I could visit his family north of Santa Barbara County. I was super excited because we could stop by Carpinteria and check out the largest Torrey Pine tree in the world! The tree even has a formal name- the Wardholme Torrey Pine.

It may seem a bit dramatic, but I gasped when we approached the tree! You can not deny the presence of this giant.

Let’s take a look close and personally, shall we?

Important Information
  • Scientific Name
    • Inland Population- Pinus torreyana
    • Santa Rosa Island- Pinus torreyana var. insularis
  • Habitat
    • coastal sage scrub
    • chaparral
  • Endangered
  • One of the rarest pine trees in the world as it only grows naturally in two places in Southern California.
    • A small strip of the coastline in Del Mar and La Jolla
    • Santa Rosa Island, off the coast of Santa Barbara County
  • Very slow-growing and can live up to 100 years
  • Distinguished by the needles on the branches being in bunches of five
  • Six-inch (15 cm) pinecones

Map- 5100 Carpinteria Ave, Carpinteria, CA 93013

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