Watch out! South Coast's shorebirds are out
The breeding season for the South Coast's precious shorebirds has started and beach-goers are reminded not to disturb nesting pairs.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Shorebird Recovery Coordinator Jodie Dunn said so far this season these endangered birds have been observed nesting at beaches from Gerroa to Batemans Bay.
"We have 12 endangered pied oystercatchers nests along the coast and the first little chick just hatched from a nest at Gerroa's Crooked River," Ms Dunn said.
"Critically endangered hooded plovers have been reported at many beaches but most pairs are unsettled and have not nested yet, probably due to these strong winds.
"Unfortunately, the only known nest at Berrara Beach was lost to ravens last week.
"Everyone can do their part to help the survival of these species and the easiest way to help is simply to avoid disturbing them.
"Most important is to keep dogs on leash and away from nesting areas, especially if there are chicks present.
"The birds are very sensitive to any disturbance from beach-goers and dogs - and the nests are at high risk of being damaged by foxes, ravens, vehicles and trampling.
"These birds nest on the sand anywhere above the tideline and their nests, eggs and chicks are extremely well camouflaged making them highly susceptible to accidental disturbance," Ms Dunn said.
The team of dedicated Shorebird Recovery Volunteers are active all along the south coast this summer.
They are busy fencing nesting areas, erecting signage for the public and doing bird surveys at key nesting sites.
NPWS conducts annual fox control efforts in all coastal national parks and reserves to coincide with the shorebird breeding season.
"We are really lucky that these endangered birds still nest on our beaches. It is a testimony to the pristineness of the south coast. Please help us keep it that way," Ms Dunn added.
"While its great news they are currently nesting, we need to do all we can to make sure they are not disturbed and go on to hatch out chicks this season. Less than 10% of hoodie eggs actually become fully-fledged birds," said Ms Dunn.
For more information visit: The South Coast Shorebird Recovery Program
Pied oystercatchers are currently nesting on beaches at:
- Shoalhaven Heads
- Comerong Island
- St Georges Basin islands
- Sussex Inlet
- Berrara Creek
- Lake Conjola spit and islands
- Narrawallee Creek entrance
- Burrill Lake
- Durras Lake and
- Batemans Bay Marina.