Early birds nesting on EP beaches

News article |

Spring is in the air and the Eyre Peninsula’s threatened hooded plovers have set a new Australian record.

Natural Resources Officer Rachael Kannussaar says this is the earliest start we’ve observed to date for hooded plovers attempting to nest on Eyre Peninsula.

“It’s the first for Australia this year – we’ve observed eggs in their shallow sand-scrapped nests at one coastal site on the west coast, while others hooded plovers around the region recorded pairing up and returning to their coastal territories in readiness for nesting,” Ms Kannussaar said.

“This year, with the help of highly trained BirdLife volunteers, we plan to monitor fourteen new nesting sites, thanks to funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

“This will bring our total number of hooded plover territory monitoring sites to 42 and is the sixth consecutive year we’ve been involved in the national monitoring program.

“It’s important we continue to deepen our understanding of hoodies’ territories and threats to their survival.

“They are a nationally threatened species and without conservation actions, will likely become extinct.

“Usually hooded plovers make their nests on high-energy ocean beaches, directly on the sand above the high tide mark.

“Recently however community members have seen hooded plovers in coastal saltmarsh environments so we’re hoping to learn more about the importance of coastal saltmarsh habitats through our monitoring and landcare actions in the next three years through our new STAR project (Saltmarsh Threat Abatement and Recovery Project).

“We are especially interested in how hooded plovers are possibly using saltmarsh as over-wintering habitat.”

There are simple steps people can take when visiting the beach during hooded plover breeding season (from August to March each year), which will help to reduce the risk of damaging hooded plover eggs or disturbing newly hatched chicks. These include:

• Reading and adhering to warning signs;

• Keeping dogs on a leash; and

• walking or driving below the high-tide mark.

People interested in learning more about Hooded Plovers and other beach-nesting birds are invited to join BirdLife Beach-nesting Birds Project Officer Kasun Ekanayaka and Natural Resources Management’s Rachael Kannussaar for a free workshop, Sunday 22 September at Redcliff Campsite, south of Tumby Bay.

For more information, including registering for the ‘Learn more about monitoring Hooded Plovers’, call Rachael Kannussaar on 0427 975 903 or visit www.landscape.sa.gov.au/ep/get-involved/events

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