On January 11 this year we had exciting news of a chick hatching at Red Rocks at Pt Addis to CT (a previously tagged bird) and an unflagged bird.
The nest was hammered by the tide and people using the beach, but it has survived. Fingers crossed. There are lots of volunteers who have rallied to help protect it from walkers and those dogs not on leads as required in the Marine National Park.
Along the coastline from Torquay west, the only chick to experienced parents EJ and JM, died January 14 this month. It was found alive, but very unwell by a GORCC staff member. It was seen by a vet, where it died shortly afterwards. Despite overcoming being chased by unsupervised children last week the necropsy indicates death from some type of blunt trauma. We hope they try again this season.
We have just had a report the nest at Pt Roadknight has failed. It was due within the next week. RP & BL had two chicks fledge successfully last season who continue to hang around, often seen at Fairhaven and Moggs annoying the other breeding pairs. Will they try again?
The west pair from Pt Roadknight, LY &LM, had one chick which hatched. At the time of hatching one of the chicks was found dead in the nest and no other chicks were observed, however the following day one chick was seen. The surviving youngster went from strength to strength and the volunteers from the Friends of the Hooded Plover Surf Coast provided a significant amount of support to the family. Tragically this little bird was killed by a dog in front of Margaret MacDonald on Sunday, January 6, as she was heading down the stairs for her volunteering shift at the start of the day. The incident is being investigated by DELWP. We do hope they may try again as we had great hopes for this pair who are yet to be successful in getting a fledgling through.
Heading west there was a nest in the dune at the Gulch, which was doing well. Human activity in the dunes saw this nest being trashed sometime between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, with evidence of people having been sliding down the dunes on boards. The nest and adult birds were gone and the dune totally eroded. This is despite there being a temporary fence around the nest and signage.
Further along closer to Urquhart Bluff, WT and an unbanded bird had nested and subsequently failed. We have not yet seen the birds regularly there since, so we are not sure where they are or what they are up to. Margaret and Parks Vic staff have been monitoring.
We had an unexpected success at Aireys Inlet. How excited we are to have a fledgling, SZ, that we have managed to band already! The parents, XS and HP, did an incredible job nesting in the dunes. The first we knew about it was when two chicks were seen tumbling down the dune by a local Fairhaven resident who contacted me. We managed to get BirdLife to band the one surviving chick – SZ, white flag, left leg and thankfully it is doing well.
Fledging chick SZ (Photo Graham Lee)
Our unbanded pair at Moggs had a nest in the estuary and the three chicks hatched. During the second week we started to lose them one by one. We are not sure what happened to the first two, but a volunteer witnessed a magpie take the third chick, which was very distressing for her. Margaret and Jill have been keeping an eye on them and we now have a new nest. Fingers crossed once again.
It seems our birds are facing increased human pressures including dogs and horses, as well as animal predators such as magpies that constantly prey on hoodie eggs and chicks. Please keep helping out hoodies by spreading the word and role modelling:
Freesia refracta and Freesia alba X F. leichtlinii are declared weeds in the Surf Coast Shire because they spread easily and threaten to invade bushland. Freesias are perennial herbs that die back in summer and produce new foliage in winter. The highly fragrant trumpet-shaped flowers appearing in spring are white to cream and pink with yellow markings, shaded purple on outer surface. Each plant has at least two corms, one below the other, thus requiring deep digging to remove them.
More details about how to control this weed can be found in the archive of Weeds of the Month.
There are a number of wonderful local Friends Groups that provide ANGAIR members and the community with opportunities for involvement.