Hooded Plovers v Nankeen Kestrel

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Subject: Hooded Plovers v Nankeen Kestrel
From: "Val Ford" <>
Date: Wed, 15 Jan 2003 08:37:02 +1100
Hi All
Being a 'Friend of a Hooded Plover' is not easy this time of the year. If you are a Hooded Plover life is much harder.
The couple of ocean beaches where I patrol/observe are in the Mornington Peninsula National Park, southern Victoria. At this time of the year, when the Hooded Plovers are well into their breeding season, is of course the time when the beaches are full of holiday people and their uncontrolled dogs.
Some Hooded Plovers may be onto their 3rd  clutch in an attempt to get at least one fledged bird for the year, which unfortunately is most unlikely. One year a observed a pair lay 6 clutches and end up with no fledged young for all their effort.  
Yesterday [14/1], whilst checking a pair to see if they still had chicks I initially thought  the parents were hiding the chicks because of the presence of walkers on the wind swept beach. However I soon discovered the real reason as I watched a Nankeen Kestrel try to get the 3 five day old chicks
The parents had to work very hard to protect them. They tried flying around, in all directions, to try and distract  the kestrel then when the kestrel wasn't deterred both parents did frantic broken wing displays. Luckily a pacific gull flew over and the kestrel left. As soon as it was 'all clear' the parents moved the chicks to elsewhere on the beach.
Whilst a friend has seen a Hooded Plover chick taken by a Silver Gull I had only observed kestrels, Swamp Harriers and Peregrine Falcons 'checking out' chicks.
Do I have the nerve to check out the birds today!
Val Ford
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