Monday, July 1, 2013

The story of Bird OLF 'LT' - Hooded plover

Hooded plovers are endangered species in this part of the world. Due to the efforts of a protection program supported by Birdlife Australia and many volunteers (please visit there is the opportunity for greater understanding of the species' behaviour and the threats to its existence.

Hooded plover Thinornis rubricollis, Cape Woolamai, Phillip Island, 22 June  2013
This pair afforded me some lovely views on a gorgeous morning at Cape Woolamai, Phillip Island last weekend. The banded bird carries an orange leg flag (OLF) above a metal band. I can't recall the correct nomenclature to translate this into the bird's "name" but I'm going with OLF 'LT'.

Hooded plover. "The Pinnacles" can be seen in the background.
Surf's up at Woolamai! Same viewpoint as the above picture.
As a breeding site for Hooded plover Woolamai surf beach presents many of the typical obstacles that this species faces. The birds lay their eggs in a sand scrape above the high tide line and are vulnerable to predation and destruction from pedestrian traffic or unleashed dogs.

Hooded plover, Cape Woolamai, 22 June 2013

Observations relating to particular birds are available for viewing by registered users at the MyHoodie Data Portal. I have learnt that this Hooded plover OLF 'LT' and an untagged bird made a nest at Woolamai beach this last breeding season. According to my reading of the Data Portal observations the nest failed.

What is more startling is that every nest on or near Cape Woolamai failed last season.

Screen grab from the MyHoodie data portal
A little further exploration revealed that the leg flag OLF 'LT' was applied to this bird in 1998. That makes this bird at least 15 years old. It is my understanding that Hooded plover don't live much longer than this. Presumably another season or two of failed nests will see the total count of Hooded plover fall again.

The leg flag OLF 'LT' was applied at Rye (some 50km west of Cape Woolamai) in 1998
I'm reminded of the dream when you are running but not getting anywhere!
While making our big footprint, we are wiping out all the little ones.
Bird on!

1 comment:

  1. enjoyed seeing this rare bird Pete; you got lucky seeing it for yourself; thanks for sharing