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Cliff spreads his wings
We interview Council’s NRM Coastal Conservation Officer, Kerri Bartley, about the progress of “Cliff”, a chick of a recent clutch of threatened Hooded Plovers hatched at Seacliff earlier this year:
Is Cliff the only chick from Seacliff to survive this year?
Yes. Three chicks hatched on September 22, 2018, on the beach at Seacliff. Cliff was the only Hooded Plover chick to make it through the tough 35 days to reach the ‘fledgling’ stage. The chicks can’t fly for five weeks, so that is why it is so important that dogs are kept on leads and people stay clear of the area. The chicks have to feed themselves from the day they hatch and the food they eat is amongst the beach rack (seaweed) and on the wet sand at the water’s edge.
Cliff would never have made it through to the fledgling stage at Seacliff without the support of the Hooded Plovers Project which is funded by the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board, Birdlife Australia Volunteers and the City of Holdfast Bay Environment Team and Field Staff. It really has been a collaborative effort and a massive achievement to have successfully raised a Hooded Plover chick on South Australia’s busiest beach, for the second year in a row!
Is it great news that he has made it to Aldinga?
Hooded Plovers are a threatened beach nesting bird and there are only about 50 adult Hooded Plovers left on the Fleurieu Peninsula. It is wonderful news to learn that Cliff has been sighted further south along our coastline, especially at a place like Snapper Point, as there is a great food source there.
What should people do if they see him on the beach?
The most important thing to do to help protect Cliff and all our Hoodies is to keep your dogs on a lead anywhere you see a Hooded Plover sign on the beach. The reason for this is that when dogs or people get too close to the nesting area, the parents will come off their eggs/ nest to try and lead the threat (dog or person) away from their eggs. This can have the potential of leaving the eggs exposed to the elements, by either baking in the hot sun or becoming in danger of avian predators which can swoop down to steal and eat the eggs.
There are several Hooded Plover pairs nesting/incubating eggs at the moment, all the way along our coastline from Seacliff to Middleton. The breeding season is between August and March each year and the parents will make numerous attempts to try and raise their chicks to fledge just like Cliff.
If you are interested in helping to protect Cliff and his threatened Hooded Plover family, please contact Kerri Bartley, NRM Coastal Conservation Officer on 0417 081 695 to become a Birdlife Australia Volunteer Monitor.