This year’s breeding season for the Hooded Plovers is well advanced.
At the time of writing, in mid-November, there are presently four active nests along the coast between Anglesea and Aireys Inlet. A pair that nested at Fairhaven have two healthy young chicks, approximately three weeks old. (Editor: in early December one chick has survived, been banded and observed making small flights).
Fairhaven Hooded Plover chicks
Other nests at Hutt Gully, The Gulch and Moggs Creek all have eggs and are being incubated. Apart from the Moggs Creek birds, the Hooded Plover pairs have chosen to nest higher up onto the dunes. This may give them slightly more protection.
The cooler weather conditions so far have favoured the beach nesting birds. Although there are fewer people using the beaches, the birds still face threats from various predators. The site at the Point Roadknight tip has a nest with three eggs. It appears the nest at Point Addis has failed due to bird predators. We can only hope the Hoodies have a reasonable success this season in getting the chicks through to fledging stage.
We are grateful to the volunteers who dedicate so much of their time monitoring the nesting sites over the summer, educating the public about the birds, and encouraging responsibility for, and control of, their dogs while they are on the beach.
Thanks to Sue Guinness for the photos of the Fairhaven chicks.
Three Sooty Oystercatchers have been seen just off the beach near Aireys Inlet. They are not common visitors to this particular area of the Victorian coast, but their appearance certainly makes them conspicuous with their sooty black head and body, a bright orange-red eye and bill and pink legs. They forage along the rocky shoreline searching for molluscs and crustaceans.
A whale carcass was washed up onto the beach at Collendina near Ocean Grove. Although it was in an advanced state of decomposition, early indications suggest it is a Humpback Whale.
There have been a few interesting local fauna sightings during the last month. Long-necked Tortoises were seen on two occasions by kayakers in the Anglesea River. They also noticed some small fish in the water which could be an indication that the water quality has improved.
A swimming Brown Snake was observed crossing one of the canals at Coogoorah Park. It disappeared into a clump of reeds when it reached the other side. Also, in the general area of Coogoorah Park, people have reported seeing Latham’s Snipe and Red-kneed Dotterels.
As the summer months are approaching it is always a good idea to have one or more containers of fresh water placed in the garden for wildlife. Apart from the birds, it will entice other creatures such as Ringtail possums, Skinks, Bluetongues and Echidnas.