In conjunction with BirdLife Australia, the Friends of the Hooded Plover group on the Mornington Peninsula have been awarded a $4155 Coastcare grant to establish a monitoring and management project for Red-capped Plovers from Somers to Flinders. The project has been strongly supported and assisted by the Point Leo, Shoreham and Balnarring Foreshore Committees and their rangers. The project, “ Citizen science to the rescue: finding out more about beach-nesters on Western Port beaches” will look at nest and chick protection, conduct educational programs and run workshops to coordinate data collection by volunteers. The information collected will be collated by Birdlife Australia’s Beach Nesting project and compared to like-projects across Australia.
The general public may start to notice a number of roped fences and signs informing them of the Red-capped Plovers and occasional Hooded Plovers that are nesting and raising chicks on the beaches.
The Red-capped Plover is the smallest of our resident beach nesting birds and is often extremely difficult to see while foraging around the sea- grass mats that cover much of our Western Port Beaches. They generally lay 2 small eggs in a shallow sand nest on the open beach and rely on camouflage to protect them. After 28 day of incubation the chicks hatch and take a further 35 days before they can fly ( fledge).
The nests and young chicks are extremely susceptible to inadvertent trampling and thus the need for fencing. Before the older chicks can fly they are referred to as ‘runners’ because they run to collect food and run to escape danger. At this age they are susceptible to being caught by inquisitive off–lead dogs with fatal consequence.
Although the Red-capped Plover is considered relatively common around Australia, it is not known if the populations are stable and there is still much to learn about their life cycle and behaviour. There has been a fear that with increasing beach usage, the breeding birds may be lost to our local beaches and thus the need for this project.
|For 2016/17 Breeding Season|
|Pt Leo/Shoreham Balnarring||Total|
If you find a nest or wish to find out how you can become involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org including details of date and location