Sunday, 16 November 2014

2014 Hooded Plover Biennial Count -- Take 1

Every two years in November, Birdlife Australia organises a survey/count of as much high energy coast as possible along the coasts of South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. The aim is to achieve a best estimate of the population of the Eastern Hooded Plover Thinornis rubricollis rubricollis in eastern mainland Australia, and to assess the state of the bird’s habitat and to gauge threats across sites.

Hooded Plover
Image courtesy of Birdlife Australia

They are a delightful bird about the size of a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper or a Willie Wagtail. Just last week, they were officially classed as "vulnerable" under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation [EBPC] Act 1999.

Last Friday I walked 6km of the surf beach at Loch Sport looking for them.

The beach at Loch Sport looking east

I didn't find any Hooded Plovers but I did find ...

Four Australasian Pied Oystercatchers. By careful and slow approach, they allowed me to within a few yards.

Towards the end of my walk the wind got up, right up. About 40-50 kph up. It was like being sandblasted. At Loch Sport, where all the fishermen had been catching salmon from the beach, most of the birds were hunkered down as low as possible by the water's edge. I hid behind a sand dune and took a few shots.

Almost a group hug

Crested Tern x 1; Common Tern x 3


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