DEDICATED followers of the hooded plover are rejoicing with the news that two pairs of the locally endangered birds have each hatched and fledged three chicks.
It is only the third time in 15 years that hooded plovers on Mornington Peninsula beaches have succeeded in raising three chicks from one nest “and now it’s happened twice this season”, Mark Lethlean, president of Friends of Hooded Plover (Mornington Peninsula), said.
Last week Kasun Ekanayake and Renee Mead from Birdlife Australia’s beach-nesting bird project, joined the peninsula group in a bird banding day.
“We had already flagged five fledglings in December 2020, and this was the second round,” Mr Lethlean said. “With now 18 fledglings and still four maturing chicks on the ground, we are hoping for a further round of banding in a few weeks’ time.a”
He said that this year was only the third time in 15 years that the number of fledged hooded plover chicks had reached double figures, with the previous numbers being 13 in 2016/17 and 12 in 2017/18).
“Our most dismal year was 2013/14 when we managed only a single fledgling, while the past two years have each only produced six fledglings.”
Mr Lethlean said three fledglings banded at Balnarring came from two hooded plovers originally banded on Phillip Island.
“They set up a new nesting territory at Balnarring for the first time in December, which was amazing but, on their third attempt, managed to hatch and fledge three chicks,” Mr Lethlean said.