South Coast NSW, Nesting Shorebird Update No. 4

Subject: South Coast NSW, Nesting Shorebird Update No. 4
From: Mike Jarman <>
Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2008 12:14:56 +1100
Hi All

This is Jodie Dunn's latest update for the nesting shorebirds on the south 
coast of NSW.......enjoy

Hi everyone
Hope you all had a nice Christmas and new years. Surprisingly the birds did 
pretty well on the South Coast despite the squillions of tourists all over the 

The Little Terns are still doing well at Lake Conjola. There was a slight set 
back in the couple of days just before Christmas, as the combination of king 
tides and a big SE swell washed over the lower end of the spit. Darryl Mackay 
(bird bander) and Col (site warden) were very disappointed when just after 
banding three chicks a freak wave washed two of them away. One was recovered 
but the other was lost in the swirling water. We had raised the nests on a 
layer of sandbags but it wasn’t enough. Col and Eric (shorebird volunteer) 
worked frantically shovelling sand and adding more sandbags, to rebuild nests 
that had been washed away. Thanks to their hard work most of the nests were 
saved. There are already 23 fledglings on the beach and another 12 new nests, 
and about 16 chicks still hiding in the vegetation.

Up at Lake Wollumboola there are 6 fledglings on the beach, 53 chicks running 
around and another 33 eggs to hatch. A few nests have been lost to the weather, 
washovers and the fox. This second fox was also removed by the fox trapper just 
before Christmas, luckily. So now the colony is doing very well with around 100 
adults and we are up to 71 nests now! They are spread out all across the beach 
in front of Lake Wollumboola and also on the salt marsh area.

The Windang colony on the specially constructed ‘Bird Island’ is also doing 
great despite the people and dogs in the area. Over Christmas the site warden 
had to deal with people camping inside the fence, running their off leash dogs, 
cutting the string fence, pulling out signs and even going inside the fence to 
pee! He says it was a very stressful time. However his hard work is paying off 
with 13 fledglings from 20 chicks. This is a pretty good survival rate 
considering the disturbance in the area. One chick was seen being taken by a 
Silver Gull as many of these birds roost on the island. There are still new 
nests being laid, so another 9 eggs to hatch out. After a 41 year absence and 
returning to the area 4 years ago this has been the best breeding season yet!

Now for the Hooded Plovers which did surprisingly well during the Christmas to 
new years madness. The last chick of three that remained at Bullpup Beach 
(Murramarang Aboriginal Area) has survived the Ravens and fledged just a few 
days ago. Further up at Racecourse Beach both chicks hatched just before 
Christmas and are still going well, being almost as big as the parents now. At 
Narrawallee inlet the last chick survived to fledge. At Inyadda Beach (Manyana) 
one chick was lost but the other has now fledged. This brings our South Coast 
total up to five which is great for the middle of the season. The pairs at 
Mary’s Beach (Jervis Bay) and Berrara Beach who fledged the other two chicks 
are now sitting on their second nests. However disappointingly despite walking 
all the way from Point Northeast (Barnunj SRA) to Willinga Lake (Bawley Point) 
– 4 hours – again, there is still no sign of the pair that has nested on and 
off in the area. Also the pair down past Pretty Beach seem to have given up 
after they lost their third nest to Ravens. I hope they come back soon to nest 
as I haven’t seen them for a month. All in all, everything is going OK for the 
Hoodies although their numbers are still very low.

The Pied Oystercatchers are winding down. The fledgling tally is eight. At 
Narrawallee Inlet one chick hatched out just after Christmas and is still 
running around, however the other egg was abandoned. So lets hope he makes it 
through the next couple of weeks to fledge!

Thanks for reading


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