Breeding Season Success | The temperature

The South Coast Hooded Plover program for the 2021-22 season is coming to an end.

This year’s breeding and fledging season has been relatively successful for the birds, compared to previous seasons.

The 14 pairs of ‘hoodies’ produced 16 fledglings – fledgling chicks after five weeks of post-hatch growth – from 112 eggs laid in 42 nests on the beaches at Goolwa Beach, The Bluff in Encounter Bay, to the remote beaches of Deep Creek Conservation Park.

Some highlights of the season were pairs of Hooded Plovers producing two sets of three chicks which then fledged, which is a rare occurrence in the ‘hoodie’ world.

Tunkalilla Beach had one of these sets of three chicks and then produced another youngster from another ‘hooded’ pair.

The resident landowners at this beach helped with the fox problem that arose and were very helpful with reporting on hooded plover activity between volunteer visits.

Balquhidder Station beaches, which are remote beaches, produced two chicks, and Sheepies Beach produced one chick.

Like at Tunkalilla Beach, the landowners and managers here were very interested in the hooded plover program and tried to help solve the fox problems.

The other set of three fledglings were produced on the Croquet Club waterfront in downtown Victor Harbor.

Two of the three birds, now juveniles, were captured and ringed by Birdlife Australia staff, allowing program volunteers to monitor their progress.

They are often seen on urban beaches.

The South Coast ‘hoodie’ volunteers have been busy making observations and updating beach users on the progress of the various hoodie nesting sites.

At Middleton East, which was a busy beach during the hottest days of the holidays, the group had a fenced-in area to help the “hoodie” family achieve their first chick in four seasons.

This pair of young ‘hoodies’ have failed to hatch any chicks since they began their nesting career together.

The handwritten signs used with the Municipal Dog Bylaws and Birdlife Australia signs, along with the extended fencing, made the hoodie feel safe at various sites.

Volunteers observed walkers and beach visitors reading signage this season and asking how the ‘hooded’ families were progressing.

The other sites producing fledglings this season were Basham Beach with a fledgling chick.

This pair of “hoodies” usually produces at least one chick each season on this beach.

Watsons Gap produced a youngster this season, after many seasons of failures due to fox predation.

Yilki at Encounter Bay has been successful this season, producing three fledglings from two nests – a big improvement on the seven nests and 18 eggs that failed last season.

There has been tremendous interest and cooperation from local residents in the welfare and safety of the nesting hoodies, and the volunteers would like to say a big thank you for the locals’ help in making this season such a success.

The group received donations from DM Plastic and Steel for equipment and the Victor Harbor Rotary Club gave a grant for fencing equipment.

South Coast Volunteers would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the company and the club.

Under the auspices of Group Coordinator Wendy White, the City of Victor Harbor, Yankalilla District Council and Alexandrina Council, as well as National Park Rangers, were able to support the Hooded Plover program as needed.

If becoming a volunteer for the Hooded Plover South Coast Friends is something anyone is interested in, they can contact coordinator Wendy White by calling her on 0413 918 085.

The hooded plover is a beach-nesting bird and is listed as a vulnerable species, so this Birdlife Australia program hopes to increase the number of hooded plovers on South African beaches.

The Hooded Plover Project is co-coordinated by Green Adelaide and Birdlife Australia, with support from local councils, and is funded by Green Adelaide and the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board, with funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.