South Coast NSW, nesting shorebird update

Subject: South Coast NSW, nesting shorebird update
From: Mike Jarman <>
Date: Fri, 23 Nov 2007 17:35:38 +1100
Hi all

This is a regular summary provided by Jodie Dunn for local volunteers, 
councils, NPWS employees and other interested parties for nesting shorebirds on 
the south coast of NSW.  Jodie has replaced me as South Coast Shorebird 
Recovery Officer as I have gone on to other things. She is doing a great job.

I have deleted exact locations to put off the egg collectors and just in case 
foxes  have access to the internet.



Hi There everyone

Well what a busy couple of weeks. The Little Terns have started nesting a 
little early at Lake Conjola. Thought I had a bit more time before the real 
craziness began…… but we already have ten nests with a total of 22 eggs. There 
are almost 40 LT’s hanging around so I am sure there are more nests to come. 
Hopefully the rain will stop and we will put up the electric fence tomorrow to 
keep that problem fox away.

Lake Wollumboola also has a lot of activity with almost 50 LT’s, but only one 
nest so far. This nest was attacked by another LT and abandoned. It must have 
been a territory issue.

We may also have a nest at the Windang site. I will be erecting signs and 
fencing off any promising areas with scrapes or nests. Up to around a dozen 
LT’s have been seen there in the last week. Hopefully the site will be utilised 
as the Lake Illawarra Authority has created a ‘Bird Island’ for us as 
compensatory habitat for the disturbance caused by their lake entrance works 
last season. However this island continues to join with the mainland through 
natural siltation processes. Now they are producing permanent signage and later 
when nesting starts a sturdy fence will be erected. We just need the birds to 
cooperate now.

Good news for the Pied Oystercatchers as we now have 3 fledglings – 1 from 
Batemans Bay and 2 from South Durras. Great work Meryl and John! Soon we should 
see the Lake Conjola and Shoalhaven Heads chicks fledging as they are around 3 
weeks old now. An additional chick was spotted on an island in Berringer Lake 
which adjoins Lake Conjola. Further inspections of these islands may reveal 
more chicks or nests. Sadly the chicks from Narrawallee were lost to the 
problem fox in the area, and the chicks from the second pair at Batemans Bay 
also disappeared. No further nests or scrapes have been found from the Burrill 
Lake or Berrara pairs. However a second pair of Pied’s were reported in Burrill 
Lake, and closer inspection revealed two chicks that are almost at fledging 
age. The Pied’s are doing well this season.

Great news, we have a Hooded Plover fledgling at Berrara (see photo). The last 
surviving chick from 14 eggs laid in the heatwave of late August. It was 
amazing to find him after a couple of weeks of hiding and tricks by the 
parents….. and to see him fly! Even more amazing is that the Hoody chick with 
the broken leg just south of Jervis Bay is still surviving. The local Booderee 
ranger reported him to be nearly as big as the parents and managing to keep up 
with them despite his leg. He would be almost fledging age. Further south the 
Lake Conjola pair have moved up a beach to lay a 3 egg nest, and the 
Narrawallee inlet pairs 2 eggs should hatch any day now. Down in Ulladulla a 
second 3 egg nest was lost to a combination of high tides and seas a couple of 
weeks ago. Now they have moved halfway along the beach to lay another 2 eggs. 
The Kioloa pair have finally turned up and laid a 3 egg nest in Murramarang 
Aboriginal Area. Hopefully this area will give them some peace and quiet. The 
Murramarang National Park pair are very persistent and have laid their third, 3 
egg nest. Hopefully the Ravens won’t find this one.

We also squeezed in a couple of days of visiting the offshore islands to 
monitor the Sooty Oystercatcher breeding. The southern islands - Wasp, 
Grasshopper and the Tollgates – had 44 adults with 31 eggs and at least 5 
chicks. Nearly every bird was associated with a nest or chicks. However the 
northern islands – Brush and Belowla – were quite a different story. There were 
75 birds between the 2 islands but only 4 nests each with 1 egg. Plenty of nest 
scrapes though. Perhaps the eggs may have been taken by a Swamp Harrier and 
then the broken eggshells washed away by the rains a couple of weeks ago. Or 
maybe they are just running late. Another trip is planned in the hope of more 
nests! A rebellious pair down past Pretty Beach (Murramarang NP) laid a one egg 
nest on the mainland. However the nest has already been lost, possibly to the 
Ravens and Magpies seen cruising the area. Hopefully they have gone out to the 
islands to try again.

Well it’s all happening… we are in the full swing of shorebird season now!


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