The ANU property is known as the Kioloa Coastal Campus. Now, the Hoodies.
The Hoodies were only trapped, banded and leg-flagged the season before last, but we have learned a lot about them from this process. They are trapped by getting a piece of broad plastic mesh about 30cm x 20cm and fixing running nooses of fishing
line to the intersections of the mesh. The mesh is then buried and pegged in the sand with the loops of fishing line exposed. Next, the birds are gently shepherded in the direction of the trap. Sometimes seaweed is used to funnel them in towards the trap.
It can be frustrating if they don’t walk in the right direction. When the bird gets its leg caught in the noose, the trapper runs over and catches it. The bird can then be weighed, have various measurements taken and blood and feather samples taken for DNA
analysis. As males and females look identical, it is only through DNA that the sex can be determined. They are then given a metal i.d. band on the right leg and a coloured leg flag on the left leg. In NSW the Hoodie leg flags are black with a white alpha-numeric
code. In Victoria they are orange with an alpha two-letter code.
Since we have been able to tell them apart, we have had some big surprises. Previously we thought that the pairs came back to the beaches (after flocking on the rock platforms during winter) and stayed together with their partners for the season.
Not necessarily so! There is much more partner swapping occurring at the beginning and even during the nesting season than we thought when we couldn’t tell them apart.
For example, on 1 October, 2013, M2, the resident female at Willinga and her partner E2 had made a couple of (nest) scrapes, but by 7 October E2 had gone off and L6 was keeping M2 company. On 10 October M2 and E2 were together again on Termeil
Beach and then on 19 October L6 was back with M2 at Willinga. This arrangement lasted until 30 October when E2 put in an appearance again and they started seriously making scrapes. They went on to lay 3 eggs at Willinga in early November, but the eggs were
subsequently taken by a predator. This pair then relocated to Cormorant Beach to nest again, much to the horror of the shorebird volunteers as Cormorant is the only dog-off-leash beach in the area. Against all odds the eggs hatched - on New Year’s Eve - and
the three chicks survived all the way through to fledging, at which stage all were taken by a local raptor. A devastating result after all our hard work, but at least they weren’t killed by dogs or people, and lots of people got a chance to have a close look
at them and learn about them. L6 went on to form a breeding pair with L5 at Dawsons Beach, down past Pretty Beach, and successfully fledged three chicks.
Further south there was also partner swapping at Kioloa. K0, the resident female had H3 as a partner. As far as we knew they had been a steady couple (although this may not have been the case). in 2014-15 H3 left K0 and took up with a younger
female at Bullpup Beach. This female had escaped being caught and banded, so is just known as UnBanded (UnB). The pair made a nest in the middle of Bullpup Beach, but were not very diligent parents, spending large amounts of time off the nest. In spite of
this, one chick hatched, but was taken by a predator after a few days and before another egg hatched about a week later. This was a very long time in between hatchings. The second chick died on hatching, and the third egg appeared not viable. By the time
the second egg hatched, another male, B0, had turned up at Bullpup with UnB in his sights, and H3 took himself back to his former partner, K0, at Kioloa. She had spent the entire nesting episode by herself.
This season again we have K0, H3, UnB and B0 in various combinations ranging from Murramarang Beach to Kioloa. Who knows how they will pair up in the end!
Terry, there is an article in the Birdlife Shoalhaven Autumn Newsletter giving a summary of the last season. I thought the detail of these interactions that I have given you might be of interest to your readers though. The newsletter can be accessed
. There are some other interesting articles in it too.
Now, one final thing that you might be able to help us with by including it in your newsletter for your members who might be visiting down the south coast:
South Pacific Heathland Reserve, Ulladulla.
The South Pacific Heathland Reserve is an area of rapidly diminishing heathland right beside the sea in South Ulladulla, to the east of the Ex-Servo’s Club. It contains many significant rare plants, including waratahs and orchids. It can be accessed
via Pitman Ave or Dowling St. This reserve was set up in the 1980s by keen local birdwatcher, Chris Humphries, and is managed by a group of Trustees. Over the years little has been done in terms of management, but the present Trustees are concerned that if
considered to be neglected and underused by the State Government, there may be an inclination to sell it off. The now very active Trustees have already had a wheelchair accessible track put in to a lookout, and have done some clearing of vegetation along the
tracks. A new brochure giving information about the Reserve is being produced. They are keen to get more information on the birds that use the Reserve. To achieve this the site has been set up as an Eremaea eBird Hotspot, as "South Pacific Heathland Reserve",
and the Trustees would appreciate surveys by any birders visiting the area. The Reserve is just over 500m long, and can be walked in an elongated circular way to return to the start. It takes roughly an hour. Please note that only birds in the Reserve are
to be included, not Albatrosses out to sea or Oystercatchers on the rock platform below, as the interest is in the birds that are using the vegetation. Another couple of things to note are to record your start time and duration, the number in your party and
to please try to make a count of the numbers of each species. This will be an estimation, but is really useful. Honeyeaters rule here!
Thanks, Terry, and I’ll send some photos of the banding separately,
On 9 Aug 2015, at 9:24 am, Terry Bird <> wrote:
Once again, let me express on behalf of our group, our appreciation of your guiding contribution to the success of the COG trip the Bawley Point area. Margaret, I wish to write an article for our monthly GangGang newsletter about hooded plovers
including trapping methods,flags, pairing dramas etc. Perhaps there is something I can access through Birdlife Shoalhaven. Otherwise do you mind sending me a story of these activities. Another question, can you provide a name for the ANU campus/property at
Kiola. Regards Terry Bell
Sent from my iPad