Bass Coast,
23
December
2014
|
04:40
Australia/Melbourne

Hoodies Fighting For Survival

Hooded+Plover%2C+Yellow+04%2C+has+been+breeding+at+Point+Norman+every+year+since+2001.+Image+provided+by+Friends+of+the+Hooded+Plover+Bass+Coast+Group+Coordinator%2C+Stephen+Johnson.

Hooded Plovers may be a threatened species, but there is no doubt they are little troopers fighting to get off that list.

Friends of the Hooded Plover Bass Coast Group Coordinator, Steve Johnson, said their records show one particular bird, leg flagged Yellow 04, started breeding on Point Norman back in the 2001/02 season.

“Yellow 04 is an outstanding example of breeding persistence and is still at it today,” Mr Johnson said.

“It has attempted to breed every summer except for 2010/11, when its partner became entangled in fishing line on the beach.

“Its legs were strangled and it lost both feet, surviving only a couple of months thereafter.

Mr Johnson said this set back occurred at the start of the season and prohibited them from laying throughout that season; however Yellow 04 was still breeding today.

“Yellow 04 has been a long term breeder over all that time and is still with us,” Mr Johnson said.

“I found it sitting on a two egg nest recently.”

Since November 2000, the Friends’ yearly records for Point Norman reveal 91 eggs and 31 chicks, with only 11 surviving that went on to fledge.

Council’s Acting General Manager Sustainable Development and Growth. Jodi Kennedy, said people may have noticed increased activity in birds nesting on the beach around Anderson Inlet in Inverloch.

“This is partly due to the recent and unusual natural sand movement happening around the Inlet creating a build-up of sand, particularly around Point Norman,” Ms Kennedy said.

“This build up has created a protected section of beach which is perfect for beach nesting birds.

“Currently there are two pairs of the threatened species Hooded Plover nesting in this area, one of which has a chick which fledged early December.”

As recent as 22 December, volunteers found a second nest by this pair yielding four eggs and an enclosure was quickly erected by the volunteers to protect it.

The second pair is now incubating three eggs after losing their first clutch from within an enclosure that had been walked into.

Ms Kennedy said in addition to the Hooded Plovers currently residing in this new environment, three other species of beach nesting birds not often seen have been attracted to this area.

“This includes Red Capped Plovers, Pied Oystercatchers and Fairy Terns,” Ms Kennedy said.

“Both the Hooded Plover and the Fairy Tern are listed as “vulnerable” under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 with populations declining.

“The Fairy Terns have disappeared recently but we are confident we will see them return, so keep your eyes out!”

Ms Kennedy said as people and dogs are a threat to Hooded Plovers, the parent Hooded Plovers will instruct the chick to hide in the dunes for safety until the threat passes.

“Only when there is no threat around will the parents call to the chick to come out and feed,” Ms Kennedy said.

“Unfortunately as Point Norman is a popular beach for people and dog walkers, opportunities to feed can be limited.

As many people love to walk along the beach, they are unaware of the effects they may be having on the survival of these species.

Fortunately there are a few simple steps you can take to help ensure their survival.

People can help the Hooded Plovers have a successful breeding season by undertaking the following:

  • If possible, avoid using beaches known to be used for Hooded Plover breeding

  • Please keep your distance from these birds on the beach

  • Stay close to the water’s edge, as shorebirds nest above the high-tide mark

  • Keep an eye out for and obey signage and barriers put up for the protection of the birds and do not stop in front of nesting areas.

  • Please keep off the dunes to help make these safe havens for nesting birds and chicks

  • Keep your dog on a leash at all times and off the beach during ‘no dogs’ times.

  • If you wish to let your dog run free, please use the designated off-leash areas that are around the Shire. For details on dog regulations and off-leash areas, please visit www.basscoast.vic.gov.au/dogwalking.

  • Report any incidents to 1300 BCOAST (226 278) or (03) 5671 2211