The February bird walk had to be cancelled, as it was planned for the lockdown weekend. However, there were other interesting bird observations over the summer.

In late January we were involved in a bird count of Latham’s Snipe. Margaret Lacey did a very early count at Coogoorah Park, seeing six of them.

snipeLatham’s Snipe (photo Marg Lacey)

She then joined several of us at the Allen Noble Sanctuary where we saw only one, but other interesting bird sightings followed.

snipereedsLatham’s Snipe (photo Marg Lacey)

In particular we had great views of a pair of Black-shouldered Kites which were nesting in a Norfolk Island Pine, one of three growing near the sanctuary.

kiteBlack-shouldered Kite

At one stage the two parents posed ‘near’ each other… on the very top of the two adjoining pines. Over the next few weeks Margaret kept us informed of the progress of the two chicks in the nest, and some of us were fortunate to see them just before and after they fledged. Their gorgeous rusty brown juvenile feathers of the head and upper breast stood out, and a well-timed video taken by Bron Ives showed then stretching and preening just after leaving the nest.

immaturekiteImmature Kite (photo Marg Lacey)

There are nine active nesting pairs of Hooded Plovers (Hoodies) along the Surf Coast. They have had ongoing losses of nests, eggs and chicks. The determination of these small defenceless birds to keep trying is just amazing, as each pair has had one to five attempts for the season. In mid-February there was finally a successful fledging of a chick at Red Rocks, Pt Addis, the first success for 10 years.

redrocks

Juvenile Hooded Plover at Pt Addis (photo Bron Ives)

Currently there is one more hope, a chick at Pt Roadknight West. Local volunteers are now acting as wardens at the beach to make sure there is compliance with the dog exclusion zone there.

Hooded Plovers do not migrate overseas but they do travel up and down the coast. A juvenile Hoodie was noted at Moggs Creek recently with a yellow band … a surprise, as all our Hoodies here have orange or white bands. Birdlife said that it had been banded at Phillip Island on 13 November 2020. Since then, it has travelled along the coast for three months, and is now flocking with some of our Hoodies that have given up on nesting for this season.

hoodies

Young Hoodie visitng Moggs Creek (photo Bron Ives)

Ellinor Campbell

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