Bellarine Bayside in partnership with Birdlife Australia recently hosted a red-capped plover monitoring workshop at the Indented Head Community Hall. Not to be confused with other plover species such as the hooded plover or the commonly encountered spur-winger plover, the red-capped is the most widespread of Australia’s beach-nesting shorebirds.
On Saturday 12 August 2017 more than 25 community members attended the half day event which aimed to increase awareness and protection of the local beach-nesting birds. Coastal projects officer, Leia Howes, said the day was also aimed at encouraging the community to actively monitor these birds throughout their breeding season, with all local information collected on the bird’s ecology improving the understanding and management of this species.
The red-capped plovers nesting behaviour close to the water increases the vulnerability of eggs and chicks to the elements and human disturbance. This program is similar to one developed for monitoring the vulnerable hooded plover which inhabits high-energy beach habitats. The day’s activities included two presentations by Renee Mead, Birdlife Australia’s Beach-nesting birds project officer, that focused on bird behaviour, the methodology required to monitor this cryptic species and a short field trip to observe the birds in their natural habitat.
The group were lucky enough to observe a male and female red-capped plover resting and foraging at the Indented Head saltmarsh (see photos). The community turnout at environmentally-focused initiatives such as this is extremely encouraging and we are hopeful that more community members will become actively involved in monitoring red-capped plovers along our coastline. If you would like to know more about the red-capped or hooded plover programs please contact Renee Mead at firstname.lastname@example.org.