Eastern View Hooded Plovers fledge and fly away

Fabulous news. Two endangered Hooded Plover chicks have survived the danger period and fledged (taken to the skies).

The eggs and the flightless chicks had to last around 60 days without being trampled or eaten – not an easy feat for birds that nest on one of our busiest beaches in peak season!

Hoodie Chicks Eastern View
Too cute! The little chicks in their ‘flightless’ stage.

Its a great achievement by GORCC staff – especially our Conservation team, BirdLife Australia and local volunteers.  Together, we pulled out all the stops to  make sure these little cuties survived.

To make things difficult, the nest was in a dog zone so volunteers and Georgie Beale (GORCC Conservation Officer) put a massive amount of work into meeting and educating dog walkers.

This is the first time in three years that Hooded Plover chicks have fledged on our coast – a great effort by all.

Learn more about Hooded Plovers and how to get involved in their protection here.

Baby Hoodies on the Beach!

Two endangered Hooded Plover chicks have hatched at Eastern View and are striving to survive.

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee Conservation (GORCC) Officer Georgie Beale is urging all beachgoers to keep dogs on a leash, adhere to all signs, stay away from fenced nesting areas and enter the beach via designated pathways.

“Three precious chicks hatched last week and two are now thriving whilst one unfortunately died due to unknown circumstances.

“Unfortunately, the breeding habits of ‘hoodies’ put them at risk.

“The birds do not build nests, they breed during the busy summer season and any disturbance from people or animals drives the adult birds away from their chicks,” she said.

The two remaining Hoodies at Eastern View.
The two remaining Hoodies at Eastern View are striving to survive. PHOTO: Georgina Beale

GORCC has worked with volunteers and Birdlife Australia to rope off the nest area and install signs to ensure the chicks are protected.

Ms. Beale commended the volunteers, Birdlife Australia and the community for their enthusiasm and cooperation in helping to protect the chicks.

“The volunteers have also done a fantastic job in monitoring the chicks since they hatched.”

“Dog owners have been very cooperative and we have received a lot of support from beachgoers who stop to have a look,” she said.

An information session was held at the site over the long weekend to inform the public about the chick’s arrival and the importance of protecting them.

A telescope was set up on the site to give community members chance to view the Hoodies from a distance.

Despite the arrival of these precious new locals, the Hooded Plover is still very much endangered.  The species is already extinct in Queensland and northern New South Wales and in November 2010 there were only 569 adult birds left in Victoria.

For more information on the Hooded Plover, visit: www.gorcc.com.au

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Spotlight on the Rufous Bristlebird

The Surf Coast is one of the last places in the world you will be able to find the rare and threatened Rufous Bristlebird and we are very lucky to have this gorgeous little creature call our coast home!

The Rufous Bristlebird (Dasyorni Broadbenti) is only found in Australia with a predominance along coastal areas in south-western Victoria.  The species has previously been sighted in south-western Western Australia and south-eastern South Australia, but unfortunately frequent burning has led to its extinction in W.A.

Adult male- Rufous Bristlebird- photo courtesy of Graemechapman.com.au
Adult male- Rufous Bristlebird- photo courtesy of Graemechapman.com.au

The Rufous Bristlebird is from the Dasyornithidae family, and is a medium sized primarily ground-dwelling songbird. Its colouring is predominantly dark grey-brown and they have distinctive long tail. The Rufous Bristlebird has a very loud unique call.

Their natural habitat is in coastal shrublands and woodlands.  They are weak flyers and often build their nests close to the ground in low shrubs or tussocks. They feed primarily on ground-dwelling invertebrates.

The Rufous Bristlebird
The Rufous Bristlebird

All species are threatened nationwide due to habitat loss as the result of clearing for agriculture and coastal urban developments.  Additionally, because they are ground-dwelling birds,  they are prone to predation by cats and foxes.

The Rufous Bristlebird is often found in coastal thickets and they have been sighted at Jan Juc, Point Addis, Anglesea, Aireys Inlet, Wye River Loch Ard, Wye River and inland areas of the Otway Ranges.

Have you been lucky enough to spot a Rufous Bristlebird on the coast?

Rufous Bristlebird- Photo courtesy of feathersandphotos.com
Rufous Bristlebird- Photo courtesy of feathersandphotos.com

Related Blog Posts:

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Wildlife require expert care

Indigenous gardens come to life

The recent discovery of a rare butterfly in a Jan Juc Garden demonstrates how indigenous flora has the power to bring Surf Coast gardens to life.

Jan Juc residents Ian and Roma Edwards were delighted to discover their indigenous garden was home to a rare Bright Copper Butterfly (Paralucia aurifera).

Click Here to see the Bright Copper Butterfly Fact Sheet

“We also have the endangered Rufous Bristle Bird in the garden, which is now extinct in Western Australia, and often see an echidna,” said Mr Edwards.

The garden features rare local flora and is an impressive example of the beauty and benefits of indigenous plants.

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee Conservation Supervisor Georgina Beale encourages others to follow in the footsteps of the passionate pair.

“Indigenous plants are not only a haven for wildlife, but are easy to grow and care for being perfectly suited to coastal climates.

“You don’t need to water indigenous plants as often and there is much less maintenance involved,” said Ms Beale

Mr and Mrs Edwards’ garden was established quickly, and now, at the age of 10, is an impressive sight to behold.

“All the plants that we have used are particularly suitable to the area.  Once they are established you can almost forget about them,” said Mr Edwards.


Graeme Stockton from West Coast Indigenous Nursery says an indigenous garden also assists in battling environmental weeds.

“70% of all indigenous plants are threatened and weed invasion plays a big part.  Weeds invade indigenous plants and degrade habitats,” he said.

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee actively works to preserve and protect coastal habitats and raise environmental awareness in the community, and battling weeds is one of the organisation’s major priorities.

“At the moment we are working with various groups to maintain the integrity and beauty of our coastal environment.  We are removing weeds, mulching, and preparing sites ready for Spring planting.

“Having a completely indigenous garden is ideal, but you can make small changes and still reap the benefits.  A great step is simply identifying and removing environmental weeds from your garden,” said Ms Beale.

Jeff Clarke from Otways Indigenous Nursery says the best time of year to plant is March to September/October and that there were a large variety of beautiful and interesting indigenous plants available

“For a start there is approximately 100 species of orchids as well as a huge range of wildflowers, shrubs and trees,” he said.

Ms Beale encourages everyone to discover the wonderful world of indigenous plants.  “Many Australians know so little about Australian indigenous plants and yet they can name hundreds of exotic species,” she said.

For more information contact your local indigenous nursery or local environmental volunteer group.  More details can be found on the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee Website at www.gorcc.com.au.


Protecting Our Endangered Locals

Three very special bird species are calling the Surf Coast home and need your help to survive.
Birds Australia volunteers work tirelessly every year to protect and monitor endangered coastal birds, nesting along the coastline. They have the challenging task of protecting the birds from the many threats they face.

Three coastal birds species are particularly vulnerable along the Surf Coast; Hooded Plover, Red-necked Stints and Red-capped Plovers.    


Hooded Plovers

Hooded Plovers are a rare, endangered species and the Surf Coast is home to several  Hooded Plover nesting sites.  The plovers are now extinct in Queensland, fewer than 50 occur in New South Wales and only 400 are thought to remain in Victoria. 

The species is especially vulnerable because they nest on beaches and their eggs are easy to step on and their chicks are susceptible to danger.  Any disturbance will also drive adult birds away from their eggs and chicks.                                                                                                                

Hooded Plover Chicks at Point Roadknight
This year pairs have been spotted nesting at Point Addis (Red Rocks Beach) and Point Impossible in addition to the well known pairs nesting at Point Roadknight – made famous through their own Twitter site and identifiable by their orange leg flags.
Hooded Plover Chicks at Point Roadknight
The pair at the tip of Point Roadknight produced the first chick for Victoria this season, and just recently chicks have hatched in their second nest.  Unfortunately the Point Addis pair has not been so lucky – having abandoned their nest, possibly due to dogs which are often left to roam in the area.


Red-necked Stints

Red-necked Stints are small migratory waders which forage on exposed reefs and in wet sand and shelter amongst the seaweed.

The protected species lives only in estuarine tidal flats, meaning we are very lucky to have them call the Surf Coast home.   Around 170-200 of these vulnerable little birds have been sighted in the area.

The stints breed in Alaska and Siberia, and take about 1 ½ weeks to get to Australia with one stopover in Asia.  They spend their time in Australia building up their bodyweight for the long trip home in autumn.


Red-capped Plovers

Red-capped Plovers are similar in size to the Red-necked Stints, but are white with a grey back and red cap on their heads.  They are also beach nesters, so that their eggs and chicks are very vulnerable to disturbance and they are now declining in numbers.

Measures are being taken to protect these vulnerable birds

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee has built a fenced refuge area and erected special signs along the beach at Point Roadknight for the hooded plovers while the Surf Coast Shire Council has designated dog-free zone areas and Birds Australia volunteers monitor sites and identify threats to the birds.

You can help

By ensuring dogs are on the leash on beaches where the birds are found and by avoiding the dog prohibited refuge sites.  You can also help by observing the signs and staying well away from any birds.

To get involved

Get involved and play a more active role in their conservation please contact Meghan Cullen at Birds Australia m.cullen@birdsaustralia.com.au or phone 03 9347 0757.

Story provided by Birds Australia, Birds Australia Volunteers and the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee for the Surf Coast Times ‘Going Green’ column.