Hooded Plover support has emerged from Dorset, England to join the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee’s (GORCC) #SaveTheHoodie campaign.
English artist John Lloyd relished the opportunity to create a unique drawing of the Hooded Plovers to help conservation efforts along the Surf Coast.
The #SaveTheHoodie campaign aims to raise awareness about the vulnerability of the Hooded Plover and help change beachgoer behaviour to give the shorebirds space near breeding zones.
We caught up with John and ask him a few questions.
How did you first get into art?
My grandfather was a successful commercial artist and later in life he painted landscapes in oil. He was very well known locally and he really inspired me to pick up a pencil when I was very young. I loved watching him painstakingly applying brush strokes to the canvas. My mother rediscovered art later in life and is also a real inspiration of mine.
What is your favourite subject to draw and why?
Drawing gives me so much enjoyment and relaxation. The same feeling I get when I spend time in nature, so I’m never happier combining my two passions in life. Birds are my favourite subject to draw, they vary so much in colour and the texture varies so much in the feathers – small and soft in the head and breast and longer stiffer feathers in the wings and tail.
Can you explain a little about the conservation work you have completed in the past/at the moment?
In 2006 I traveled to Australia for a working holiday and a break from my job in the motorcycle industry. I loved it so much I ended up staying for two years, seeing lots of the country, working 15 different jobs and even meeting my future wife! I spent a lot of my time camping or working outdoors and re-connected with nature. In that time I realised my passion for wildife and the natural world. The Australian wildlife and birds in particular, really inspired me to return home and do what I could to help wildlife back home in England. I’ll never forget the first time I saw red-tailed black cockatoos in WA!
When I returned home I studied part-time for over three years, and having gained an environmental diploma, I volunteered for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Shortly after I was offered a job with the RSPB on the Arne nature reserve, a large reserve with diverse habitats and rare wildlife. The role gave me an opportunity to learn more about a huge diversity of wildlife and lead guided walks to inspire others. In 2014 I took up an opportunity to work with Butterfly Conservation, a much smaller organisation that are achieving some incredible successes throughout the UK and Europe. The science produced by Butterfly Conservation has informed butterfly and moth conservation all over the world. I’m extremely proud to be involved in wildlife conservation and make a positive influence to something I am so passionate about.
Why do you feel it is important to protect the Hooded Plover?
Hooded Plovers are such stunning, charismatic birds and their plight really highlights the detrimental impact humans can have on birdlife across the globe, without really knowing about it . With so many species, there are numerous factors that influence they’re decline and often people feel helpless to aid their situation. With Hoodies, local communities can really engage in their conservation and through education people can make simple choices to help them by not disturbing them. If we can help the Hooded Plover there is real hope for shorebirds and birds in other habitats everywhere.
Hooded Plover chicks have one of the lowest survival rates of any species, with more than 90% nest failure.
The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee’s (GORCC) #SaveTheHoodie campaign aims at raising awareness about the plight of the Hooded Plover to help change beachgoers behaviour during breeding season and give the hoodie chicks space on busy beaches.
There are three main breeding zones along the Surf Coast – Point Impossible, Point Roadknight and Moggs Creek and dog regulations are in place to help protect the birds.