Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My Hoodie Hero

Hooded plover Thinornis rubricollis, Silverleaves, Phillip Island, 23 September 2013
I have been photographing this small Hooded plover at Phillip Island for some 4-5 years. An endangered bird in this neck of the woods the species is the subject of considerable efforts to enhance the success of its breeding season. Such attention results in considerable monitoring and we know that this particular bird ("My Hoodie!") has had several successful breeding seasons in recent years. This is considerably above the average.

I spent a wonderful few minutes with him in early morning sunshine on 23 September this year.

Lately he's been hanging around with this bird again - a presumed breeding partner (unbanded). There were no signs of nesting at this stage. Now I haven't really noticed before that they are prone to sit like this (perhaps all birds do for that matter!!?)!
The happy couple!

Let's run away where co-one can find us ...
Well, can you find us? High tide shot with the iphone one afternoon. I could not see them with the naked eye let alone on the iphone screen - but they are there!
The beach we visit is a bay-side beach just inside a nature sanctuary called the Phillip Island Nature Park (other sections include the famous Penguin Parade, The Nobbies and Swan Lake). The picture illustrates a perilous situation as Hoodies nest in the sand just above the high tide mark. This is very close to the natural route chosen by walkers at high tide. "My Hoodie" is lucky as no dogs are allowed in the area. Other hoodies try to breed on surf beaches where they have to take their chances.

The good news is that breeding success increases dramatically if the measures recommended to protect the species are able to be facilitated. Walkers, dogs and feral cats are the principal factors which have the potential to be controlled.
Click on this picture which has been uploaded in its original resolution (if u like!). The birds are circled.

Some dog-owners don't believe that these signs apply to them
Here's one four-legged mammal who appears to have noticed the signs (at rear) and decided it best to leave the Hoodies alone ("Hey Dude. Solidarity fellow egg-layer, yeaah!")! 
One of Australia's Monotremes, (egg-laying mammals) the Short-beaked echidna Tachyglossus aculeatus can occasionally be seen on the foreshore of Australina beaches.
(Tachyglossus - quick tongue, aculeatus - spiny).
As an eater of ants, not considered a Hoodie threat!

If you want to find out more about these amazing birds and how to help in their preservation (including how best to behave when near them) visit the brilliant MyHoodie website.

Sharing with Wild Bird Wednesday

Bird on!


  1. Excellent pics and super report, Pete. Wonderful little birds. Glad they have somewhere to stay safe.

  2. Very interesting post! Those little birds do look like they are wearing "hoodies"! It's getting cool enough here in the Ozarks that we've been wearing "hoodies" till the sun warms up the day.

    1. Thanks Esther. Just looked up the Ozarks - looks like a nice bit of "bush"!

  3. Beautiful little birds to see.. and a great post.

  4. Cracking little birds. Shame we don't get them in the UK

  5. Great pics! I studied Hoodie disturbance for my honours in Tassie so miss them living in Mildura! They are such lovely little birds and it is very nice learning a pair and their behaviour.

    1. Thanks for getting in touch Amanda! Now if you were in inland WA rather than Victoria I believe you could see them inland! Isn't that curious!?

  6. superb images..... and two new bird and mammal species for me

    Thanks for posting them

  7. HI Pete I have looked at the posts I have missed over the past week since my friend Eileen came and enjoyed them very much. These shots of 'Hoodies' are wonderful and I hope the sites can be preserved. Wasn't quite sure of a number of birds in last post as you had not named them but loved the Silver Gulls in previous post.

  8. Great photos and report about "your" Hoodie. Sometime I would love to see one of those birds! Thanks for your comment on my blog post. Every now and again I do a post about the equipment I use but I guess it's been a while! I use a Viking kayak ( and carry the camera in a Pelican case - they make a range of cases including waterproof ones. The kayak is a "sit-on-top" one - which means I can get on and off easily and even turn sideways when needed! Before you buy - try sitting in the kayak as some are VERY uncomfortable after a few minutes! I tie the case on behind me and when I want to take photos reach around and bring it in front of me where I can undo the case safely. I only use the camera when conditions are very calm. I don't take my big lens (150-500) but only my 70-300. I find the big lens too heavy to use without a monopod. Birds let you get much closer in a kayak than on foot - and sometimes I have even stretched out almost flat to make myself look smaller! Hope this helps - as I remember it from a long while ago! - you have a wonderful environment down there to explore from the water.

  9. Beautiful bird and great shots. I hope they will be a nesting couple.