Early last year I took this photo of a sign on the beach front at Victor Harbor, about an hour’s drive south of Adelaide in South Australia. The message of the sign is quite clear. This beach is one of the nesting places of the rare and endangered Hooded Plover. The beach also happens to be one of the busiest in the state during the summer holidays and is even popular at most other times of the year.
Hooded Plovers are confined to coastal areas of southern NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and parts of Western Australia. Nowhere is it common and, as the sign says, very few are left in places like the Fleurieu Peninsula south of Adelaide. The birds are small (about 19-23cm) and tubby, and their favoured habitat is broad sandy ocean beaches. The nest is a small shallow scrape in the sand where they lay 2-3 eggs.
If my memory is correct, this beach at Victor Harbor is the only place I’ve ever seen this species nesting. I was leading a large group of young children on camp when we came across a nest. Keeping 60 eager children away from the nest was a logistical nightmare. I’ve only ever seen this species on a handful of occasions, mainly on the Yorke Peninsula further west in South Australia. I have no photos of the Hooded Plover. I must try to get one when I visit the town again in about a week’s time.