Beach walkers and Hooded Plover lovers wanted

News article |

Seeking volunteers to help with a biennial count of the threatened Hooded Plover bird along the beach lines of Yorke Peninsula

Natural Resources Northern and Yorke is .

Training courses for volunteers will be held on Yorke Peninsula in October, with surveys to be conducted between November 7-21, 2014.

Easily distinguished by its black ‘hood’, broad white collar across the back of the neck and black-tipped red beak, the Hooded Plover traditionally nests in spring and summer along the beaches of Yorke Peninsula.

Yorke Peninsula Community Team Leader Deborah Furbank says the region provides the perfect nesting place.

“Nesting on a busy beach may seem like a strange thing to do, but when the tiny chicks hatch they need to be close to their food – seaweed at the water’s edge - as they are unable to move far on their tiny legs,” she says.

Hooded Plover numbers have been declining across southern Australia and the species is already extinct in Queensland and northern New South Wales.

The bird is considered ‘vulnerable to extinction’ in South Australia, and Ms Furbank says Natural Resources Northern and Yorke are working closely with BirdLife Australia and the local community to reverse this trend.

“Since 1980, nationwide Hooded Plover surveys have taken place every two years,” she says.

“The survey is coordinated by Birds Australia and includes the entire coast from Jervis Bay in NSW, to the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.”

“The survey involves walking along a stretch of beach and recording Hooded Plover sightings and any visible threats that may impact breeding success, such as foxes and ravens.

Ms Furbank says the surveys are an important way to gauge bird numbers, and November is an ideal time for counting them.

“Most Hooded Plovers breed in November, they are less mobile when they are breeding and stay around the same area of beach, which lessens the chance of counting the same bird twice,” she says.

“We’re looking for volunteers to register their interest to attend an information workshop on Yorke Peninsula in October as a first step in taking part in this year’s November 7-21 biennial count.

“BirdLife Australia will visit the Yorke Peninsula in October to run these training sessions, allowing volunteers to brush up on their shorebird identification skills and learn about the quirky breeding behaviour of this bird and the threats it faces.”

If you are interested in attending the workshops, taking part in the surveys or would like further information, please contact Deborah Furbank of Natural Resources Northern and Yorke on 0421 617 155 or Deborah.Furbank@sa.gov.au

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