Threatened Hooded Plover success at September Beach
The recent sighting of a young Hooded Plover on the popular September Beach within Lincoln National Park, has caused celebration and reflection of how timely management actions work to protect this highly vulnerable endangered species.
Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula Coast and Marine Officer Rachael Kannussaar said the juvenile Hooded Plover (Thinornis rubricollis) was photographed by dedicated local volunteers who had been monitoring September Beach and Yachties Beach nesting territories for a number of years.
“It’s highly likely this young Hooded Plover came from the nesting pair at September Beach. It’s a remarkable outcome because of the popularity and high level of visitation of this beach at this time of the year. This is the first known chick to successfully fledge from this nesting territory that we are aware of. From national research we know less than three in 100 eggs survive to this early chick stage.” Rachael said.
Management actions included regular monitoring from a distance (to avoid disturbance), Rangers talking with park guests and putting up posters to alert park users and raise awareness. Temporary signs were also installed on the beach either side of the nesting location, asking people to not linger in the area, and to move through at the water’s edge.
“Last year we were going well with the adult Hooded plover pair nesting on the beach however, some campers illegally brought their dogs into the park resulting in the birds abandoning the nest and the eggs failing. This year the Rangers and I were really impressed by how the public gave these birds the space they needed just to go about their life and raise their young,” Rachael said.
Registered BirdLife Australia volunteers Jan and Barry Hetherington frequently enjoy spending time in Lincoln National Park, camping, walking and fishing and say the activity of monitoring the ‘Hoodies’ provided an additional level of pleasure and interest in the park.
“These little birds are amazing to watch as they go about their daily routine, scurrying up and down the beach, feeding and, when appropriate, displaying those tell-tale signs that indicate that there is a nest in the location. We were thrilled to discover a juvenile Hooded Plover with its parent birds on September Beach in late November. The likelihood that this young bird had resulted from a batch of eggs that we found on the beach in September gave us motivation to continue the monitoring of the area for the Plovers that we have been doing for several years,” Jan said.
“You can see why the Hooded Plover is a threatened species when they make their nest in the middle of a popular beach like September Beach. To see this success is fantastic,” Jan said.
Hooded plovers are considered an important indicator species for coastal ecosystem health. They require an intact environment to survive and successfully breed. With a helping hand to minimise our disturbance, we can greatly increase their chances of successful breeding.
For further information or to become a train volunteer call us on (08) 8688 3111 or visit www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au/eyrepeninsula/get-involved/volunteering