STAR news 2022
Protect chicks at Hally's Beach
Threatened Hooded Plovers are now breeding on Eyre Peninsula beaches. A busy Hooded Plover pair at Hally’s Beach near Streaky Bay have successfully hatched two chicks in their second breeding attempt this season.
Due to increased activity on the beach along with warmer weather, the chicks are under threat from human foot traffic and dogs off-leash as the chicks are feeding within several hundred metres of the access boardwalk.
If you visit Hally’s - or any other beaches with beach nesting birds - please keep your dog on a leash, walk close to the water’s edge and give them space if you happen to spot them.
60+ workshops in 3 years
We’ve delivered 61 workshops with schools and community groups across Eyre Peninsula during the past three years, spreading awareness about our region’s threatened temperate saltmarsh, Hooded Plovers, and resident and migratory shorebirds.
The most recent school workshops were held at Koonibba school, where students (and teachers) learned about the specific colouring of beaks, legs, eyes, eye rings and body to identify beach nesting shorebirds on their local beaches. Each student used their knowledge and experiences to draw and mosaic a threatened beach nesting bird that they are keeping an eye out for these summer holidays!
Hoodies spotted in Birdlife Biennial Beach Nesting Bird Count
EP Landscape Board staff, BirdLifeAustralia volunteers & National Parks and Wildlife Services SA rangers recently participated in the Birdlife Biennial Beach Nesting Bird Count, recording sightings of the nationally vulnerable Hooded Plover and other beach nesting bird species along the SA coastline. The count spans the coast in VIC, NSW and SA covering over 100 sites on the Eyre Peninsula alone.
For remote areas like Eyre Peninsula with a relatively low population this count is an important opportunity to provide a snapshot of the species’ population trajectory by collecting breeding, habitat and potential threat data across each survey area. Whilst the results of the count are yet to be finalised, one interesting discovery was four pairs of Hooded Plovers on neighbouring beaches on the Point Brown headland, which is a high density for a western Eyre Peninsula location. BirdLife volunteers were also excited to record more than 30 Hooded Plovers along a remote stretch of the Lincoln National Park.
We were excited to have more than 40 community members volunteering to assist with the Count this year, enabling a large proportion of known Hooded Plover habitat to be surveyed within a short time frame. Well done to everyone involved!
Keep an eye out for signage on beaches
When visiting beaches this spring and summer be like this kangaroo (spotted on one of our monitoring cameras) and take note of any signage that alerts beach-goers to the presence of Hooded Plover breeding territories.
We put these signs on Eyre Peninsula beaches that we are monitoring when we know there’s a pair of hoodies using it for nesting.
The nests of threatened Hooded Plover’s are very vulnerable to beach-goers as their nests - a scrape in the sand - are so hard to spot above the high tide mark. Sticking to the water’s edge and keeping dogs on a leash help to protect these birds when you visit these beaches.
Why SA's plover lovers are smiling
Hooded Plovers are one of Australia's top 20 threatened birds and there is estimated to be fewer than 800 of them in South Australia. But there's reason to be cautiously optimistic as we move into the 2022-23 nesting season.
Results from the last nesting season show a positive trend in several regions compared to previous years in the number of fledged chicks – those ready to fly – per pair of hooded plovers.
Local landscape boards and Birdlife Australia are among those caring for these birds and implementing interventions to help increase their numbers across South Australia
With seven of South Australia’s nine landscape boards situated in regions with coastline featuring sandy beaches where hoodies can nest, they are often taking the lead to support the people and projects focused on looking after this vulnerable species.
Boom for population of fledged threatened birds'
The results of Eyre Peninsula’s 2021-22 Hooded Plover breeding season have been finalised – and it is great news with more than triple the number of fledged chicks compared to the previous season.
Landscape Officers from the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board along with 30 BirdLife Australia volunteers, undertook fortnightly monitoring of 22 pairs of Hooded Plovers on Eyre Peninsula beaches during the 2021-22 nesting season with an average of 1.05 fledgling per pair – which is more than double the national goal of 0.4-0.5.
Across Eyre Peninsula’s monitored Hooded Plovers sites, 45 nests were recorded with 42% of these reaching the hatching stage.
Landscape Officer Rachael Kannussaar oversees the southern Eyre Peninsula monitoring and is thrilled with latest results.
“From those 42 nests, 52 chicks were recorded with 23 reaching the fledgling stage,” Ms Kannussaar says.
“We are so pleased to see this huge increase on last year’s six recorded fledglings. A lot of time and effort goes into monitoring these birds and implementing interventions where we can to increase their chances of survival.
“Those 23 fledglings came from 10 nesting sites with some form of management implemented at seven of those nesting territories.”
First Hooded Plover chick for new breeding season
Hooded Plover breeding season has well and truly arrived and … we have our first chick! It’s been spotted on a western EP beach. Help keep Hooded Plovers and their very vulnerable chicks safe when visiting local beaches by:
- staying below the high tide line,
- keeping dogs on leash and
- keeping your distance from any visible birds or eggs.
Marine debris threatens birds
One of our Port Lincoln Landscape Officers found this marine debris when monitoring local Hooded Plovers this week. Marine debris poses a threat to all coastal and marine wildlife. Our intervention work to help threatened Hooded Plovers be able to nest safely and successfully on our beaches, includes removing such threats but we need your help. Please when you are visiting local beaches:
- take your own rubbish home
- take 3 for the sea
- leave only footprints
- don’t forget your thongs!
Hooded Plover nesting season begins
Threatened Hooded Plovers have started moving from inland areas on the Eyre Peninsula to our beaches to start nesting. Hoodie nesting season on Western EP is off to a great start with a site west of Ceduna now home to a pair of Hooded Plovers with an active nest. Can you spot the eggs?
Their nests are often little more than a scrape in the sand so now’s the time to be conscious of Hoodies and other shorebirds that use local beaches for feeding, nesting and resting. Keeping dogs on a leash and sticking the water’s edge is also really helpful for the birds, along with staying well away from them or their nests – if you happen to spot them.
Three Springs visitors learn about saltmarsh
We’ve just installed new shorebird and samphire signage at Three Springs within Lake Newland Conservation Park to educate visitors about the importance of the temperate saltmarsh habitat and wetland system for shorebirds and waterbirds - including banded stilts and hooded plovers.
This installation was done with National Parks and Wildlife Service SA.
Blue carbon storage results for World Mangrove Day
On World Mangrove Day, we have new blue carbon storage results for Eyre Peninsula mangrove and saltmarshes to release.
Recent carbon core sampling work has been completed, combining samples from across the entire region’s coastline, identifying the organic carbon stocks in the top 50cm of the soil profile for mangroves and saltmarshes.
Franklin Harbour mangrove soil samples measured organic carbon of 200 tonnes per hectare, and intertidal saltmarsh measured 100 tonnes per hectare whilst 90 tonnes per hectare was recorded at Davenport Creek.
A recently completed report on blue carbon storage in western Eyre Peninsula coastal wetlands will be available soon on our website, providing a comparison of all sites samples across Eyre Peninsula and South Australia.
The Blue Carbon Storage Report for Eyre Peninsula has been completed thanks to support from the Australian Government for our Saltmarsh Threat Abatement and Recovery Project, the University of Adelaide, South Australian Coast Protection Board and the Department for Environment and Water’s Coast and Marine Branch.
Trail signage for walkers in Lincoln National Park
Visitors to Lincoln National Park will now be informed when they are near a known Hooded Plover breeding territory, thanks to brand new trail signage.
Hooded Plovers nest on a number of the National Park beaches, so we’ve been working with park rangers to get these new Hooded Plover signs added to trail markers. This will help visitors to protect these threatened birds by recognising where they may be located so they can give them some space.
Hooded Plovers breed from August to April on Eyre Peninsula beaches. Their nests are simply a scrape in the sand, making them hard to find at times.
Cleaning up and revegetating our misunderstood saltmarsh
Saltmarshes are one of the Eyre Peninsula’s most valuable and environmentally sensitive ecosystems however their value is often greatly underestimated with some even using local saltmarsh as a rubbish dumping ground. We've been focusing on cleaning up and revegetating saltmarsh areas across the Eyre Peninsula this month, with an astonishing amount of rubbish and debris removed.
A clean-up at the Cowleds Landing Sanctuary Zone (Eight-Mile Creek) near Whyalla, with invaluable help from the local 4WD club and filled a large trailer and ute with all kinds of rubbish and debris.
Landscape officers have also been undertaking revegetation work at fragile saltmarsh sites including in the western Eyre Peninsula areas of Venus Bay, Acraman Creek and lower Eyre Peninsula areas of Farm Beach, Salt Creek and Kellidie Bay. Read more...
Where do birds go in winter?
We're aiming to learn more about the secret winter life of the Hooded Plovers that our landscape officers work to protect during the warmer months on local beaches when the birds are breeding. With the help of trained volunteers, we've been surveying threatened Hooded Plovers as the weather cools down and the birds move from their breeding sites to other areas across the Peninsula, in a bid to find out how important other areas may be for Hooded Plovers during the non-breeding season.
We're also asking the public to help with winter survey work by letting us know if they see any Hooded Plovers flocks, especially those with leg flags on them. These are birds that have been flagged as part of BirdLife Australia’s research program.
We’d love to know where and when you saw them, how many you see, the numbers of adults and juveniles, and whether you spot any birds with leg flags. If you do spot a leg flag, it’s important to note the colour of the flag, and whether it is located on the birds’ right or left leg and also the two letters printed on the flag.
Sightings of Hooded Plovers flocks or those with leg flags, can be reported to the Board by calling 8688 3200 or emailing EPLBAdmin@sa.gov.au.
This life-size Hooded Plover model was created by family daycare children in Streaky Bay as part of our shorebird and coastal habitat workshop series within the STAR project.
Using drones to monitor saltmarsh
Did you know that we use drone technology to help monitor saltmarsh recovery? This not only allows us to observe changes over time, but it means there’s no risk of damaging any plants by walking through these sensitive areas. Last week landscape officers surveyed a number of saltmarshes on the west coast of Eyre Peninsula.
This photo is of saltmarsh that is showing great signs of recovery at Seagull Lake. The site was ripped twice and fenced off to prevent vehicle access.
Flock lands at Port Lincoln
We were involved with Lower Eyre Coastcare's SALT Festival event in Port Lincoln in late April which saw a flock that was painted last year, showcased along the foreshore. The public were encouraged to interact with the display, take part in chalk art and play our Hooded Plover game. We also handed out a colouring competition sheet that children can complete and have a guardian send to us.
The colouring in sheet features a Hooded Plover, which we work to protect as part of our STAR project. Entries can be photographed and then emailed to us as EPLBadmin@sa.gov.au by May 15.
Last week we worked with Far West Coast Rangers on pest plant control and marine debris removal at Shelly Beach, near Ceduna. The removal of rubbish and pest plants from the saltmarsh area will allow this threatened ecological community to grow and function properly.
Nesting at Coffin Bay
Did you know Hooded Plovers nest on our beaches for around nine months every year from late July to mid-March? The last nesting attempt for this season that we know about has been reported north of Coffin Bay with three chicks successfully hatching mid-March. If all goes well, they will reach flying age around Easter. A trained volunteer monitored them from a distance this week and they seem to be doing well. If you see chicks or nesting birds on our beaches, please keep your distance.
Saltmarsh monitoring at Tumby Bay
The sun was shining this week for our quarterly saltmarsh monitoring at Tumby Bay. The Sediment Elevation Table (pictured) is being used to look into carbon accumulation and change over time in Eyre Peninsula coastal saltmarsh with the University of Adelaide.
Saltmarshes sequester a huge amount of carbon in the soil making them very important for climate change mitigation.
Students get creative with shorebirds
Karcultaby Area School students enjoyed an afternoon of bird scoping, origami and figurine modelling whilst learning about the threatened Hooded Plover species during shorebird workshops hosted by our landscape officers.
The workshops at Karcultaby are part of a series being held across the Eyre Peninsula to increase awareness of shorebirds, through the Board’s Saltmarsh Threat Abatement and Recovery Project.
Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board, Landscape Officer Libby Hunt said it was wonderful to see the students relating their summer holiday beach experiences to the role play activity.
“Enabling students to perform the roles of introduced and native predators and every day beach users, enabled an understanding of the fragility of the shorebird lifecycle, and the small changes we can all make to share the beach with shorebirds and give them the greatest chance of survival,” said Ms Hunt.
1000s of shorebirds + 3 hoodies
We counted 1000’s of shorebirds across Western EP during recent surveys. Eastern curlews, oyster catchers, plovers, stints, redcaps, cormorants, swans, and many more bird species were recorded.
Three Hooded Plover fledglings were also spotted. Eyre Peninsula offshore Islands continue to be a stronghold for successful Hooded Plover breeding and fledging.
Hoodies flying the nest across the EP
February 17, 2022
The Hooded Plover breeding season has been eventful so far across the Eyre Peninsula. We're thrilled to have a trio of chicks reach fledgling age thanks to interventions including feral cat control & providing dog leashes for walkers... and we were quite amazed that another two got to flying age on the busy Fishery Bay beach near Port Lincoln.
Breeding season tends to go until April, so when you're enjoying local beaches, please keep an eye out for signs that alert beachgoers to the presence of these threatened birds. You can help by walking on the water's edge, keeping dogs on a lead and staying well away if you do spot any.
Fishery Bay Hooded Plovers survive to fledgling age
January 24, 2022
We’re thrilled to report that two threatened Hooded Plover chicks at Fishery Bay beach near Port Lincoln have made it to fledgling age, which means they can now fly which will greatly help their chances of survival. These are the first fledged hoodies reported on this busy beach.
Our BirdLife volunteers, especially Kym Montoya, have been an amazing support in monitoring this beach regularly and giving the birds a fighting chance. Thanks also to the public for reporting sightings and respecting the fenced off area.
See our 2021 STAR news page to read other news about Hooded Plovers of on the Eyre Peninsula.
The Saltmarsh Threat Abatement and Recovery (STAR) project is supported by the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.