Calling all beach walkers and hooded plover lovers
Natural Resources Northern and Yorke is seeking volunteers to help with a biennial count of the threatened hooded plover along the beach lines of Yorke Peninsula.
Training courses for volunteers will be held on Yorke Peninsula in September, with surveys to be conducted between 14 and 25 November 2016.
Easily distinguished by its black ‘hood’, broad white collar across the back of the neck and black-tipped red beak, the small shore birds traditionally nest in spring and summer along the beaches of Yorke Peninsula.
Natural Resources Northern and Yorke Community Ranger Janet Moore said the region provided the perfect nesting place.
"Nesting on a busy beach may seem like a strange thing to do, but when the chicks hatch, they need to be close to their food- seaweed at the water’s edge, as they are unable to travel far on their tiny legs," she said.
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 listed as vulnerable in South Australia, and Ms Moore said Natural Resources Northern and Yorke were 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 said.
"The survey is coordinated by BirdLife Australia, and it includes the entire coast from Jervis Bay in New South Wales, to 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 Moore said the surveys were an important way to gauge bird numbers, and November was the ideal time to count 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 individual twice.
"We’re looking for volunteers to register their interest to attend an information workshop in September as a first step to taking part in this year’s November count.
"Birdlife Australia will visit the Yorke Peninsula in September 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 these workshops, taking part in the surveys or would like further information, please contact Janet Moore of Natural Resources Northern and Yorke on 0447 418 391 or Janet.Moore@sa.gov.au