Sunday, 1 April 2012

Hooded Plovers @ Ocean Grove

The Hooded Plover breeding site at Ocean Grove beach has been well protected this year with signs on the beach entrances



and at both ends of the nesting area on the beach





so beach goers would be hard-pressed to say they were not aware of them.

As the notice on the first sign indicated, there is one pre-fledging chick remaining (due to take flight on Tuesday) so we thought we'd go and check them out this morning. This meant the dog missed his morning beach walk but such are the sacrifices for conservation and bird photography.

The first bird we found was this sub-adult (which we were subsequently told was from Phillip Island, based on the coloured leg bands)

Hooded Plover (immature), Ocean Grove

Another 500 m along the beach we encountered this pair of adults

Hooded Plover, Ocean Grove

but junior was nowhere to be seen...let's hope it was hidden in the seaweed or a shelter box (several of which have been constructed to provide shelter for chicks along the dune edge



Also found along the edge of the dune was this Australasian Gannet, apparently victim of a recent storm

Australasian Gannet, Ocean Grove

While watching the plovers, a Pacific Gull (3rd/4th year immature) caught a swimming crab in the shallow surf nearby

Pacific Gull, Ocean Grove

Pacific Gull, Ocean Grove

The crab was dropped several times and did it's best to fight off the inevitable

Pacific Gull, Ocean Grove

but size and persistence won

Pacific Gull, Ocean Grove

...is this a look of smug self-satisfaction?

Pacific Gull, Ocean Grove

There were three Double-banded Plovers hanging around further along the beach. They didn't hang around for any close-up shots but I did manage to capture this candid one of my wife watching them.

Double-banded Plover, Ocean Grove


When walking back along the beach, we got one last view of a Hooded Plover as it was feeding on the rocks exposed by the outgoing tide

Hooded Plover, Ocean Grove


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