Threatened Hooded Plovers take flight
Local officers and BirdLife trained volunteers were excited to learn that at least 11 Hooded Plover chicks this season have made it to flying age across the Eyre Peninsula region.
Increased monitoring of this species began last season and will continue until 2023 as part of the Protecting the Hooded Plover and Eyre Peninsula’s Saltmarsh Threat Abatement and Recovery projects. These projects are supported by the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, the Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority and BirdLife Australia.
The Hooded Plover is a resident beach nesting bird listed as a threatened species under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act. They lay their eggs in a shallow scrape on the beach above the high tide mark between August and April. This leaves them susceptible to a variety of disturbances, including off-leash dogs, vehicles driving on the beach and introduced predators, such as cats and foxes.
Local officer Rachael Kannussaar said she was pleased the efforts of staff and volunteers had contributed to helping Hooded Plovers reach the fledgling stage.
“Hooded Plovers have a very low nesting success rate, with only one in 10 nests hatching, and of the nests that do hatch, only one in five chicks reach flying age 35 days later,” she said.
“On Eyre Peninsula 20 Hooded Plover pairs were visited regularly to monitor nesting progress and document threats across the nesting season. To have 11 chicks fledge from this number of monitored pairs is a good outcome.”
Management actions were also implemented at some locations and included installing temporary signage either side of nesting areas and asking people to not linger in the area and to move past at the water’s edge.
“Staff and volunteers worked with land managers to trial temporary signage to alert the public of a nest in the area,” Ms Kannussaar said.
“The response of the public was outstanding, and people had obviously chosen to avoid the nesting area, which helped the Hooded Plover eggs reach the hatching stage.”
Regular surveys continue to help us learn more about the Hooded Plovers on Eyre Peninsula, and the beaches where they are nesting. This information is critical for the future conservation and management of this threatened species in the region.
Hooded Plovers will soon be returning to their nesting territories ready for the next season. For further information or if you are interested in becoming a trained volunteer please contact the local office on 8688 3111 or visit http:///www.landscape.sa.gov.au/ep/get-involved/volunteering