Very few shorebirds have overcome nature’s hurdles this summer, with several nests being taken by foxes or ravens and others being disturbed by dogs and people.
However some chicks have fledged, including four critically endangered Hooded Plover chicks.
NPWS shorebird recovery coordinator Jodie Dunn said volunteers noticed plover nests being abandoned during the Christmas-New Year period because people were going too close.
“We did have some fledge. We had one a pockets in Ulladulla, two on Racecourse Beach, and one on Dawson Beach just past Pretty Beach,” she said.
“There was three chicks on Racecourse Beach but we lost one to a fox. The other two went the southern end of the beach.
“We have had a lot of issues with foxes this year.”
Ms Dunn said there were hoodie still chicks on the sand and nests on the beach, which was a good sign for more fledging birds.
“We have chicks on Caves Beach in Booderee National Park and at the southern end of Wairo Beach, Lake Tabourie.
“They have about a month to go before they fully fledge. Until then, people are best to stay down by the shoreline and keep dogs away in those area.
“Birds can travel to the other end of the beach away from their nesting area, hence why not many survive and they are critically endangered.”
A nest was abandoned at Manyana, while another was left at Point Nor East because of human interference.
“It is a bit sad,” Ms Dunn said.
Meanwhile, 13 Pied Oyster Catchers chicks have started flying between Gerroa and Batemans Bay.
“We still have a chick on the ground at Culburra Beach and three at the Shoalhaven river entrance that have almost flegded. Hopefully they will fledge in the next week,” Ms Dunn said.
A Little Turn colony at Lake Conjola was dispersed by Ravens after two attempts at nesting saw the predators destroy the shorebirds nests.
Ms Dunn said there was “50 or 60” birds in the colony in early summer, however the moved into smaller colonies.
“They are all in small colonies now and are harder to protect,” she said.
“They ban together and ward off predators together. We have had a few fledglings so far but not as good as we would have expected.
“We are not seeing the number of chicks we would have expected.”
Ms Dunn urged beachgoers to share the shoreline with the birds. She also thanked the efforts of volunteers throughout summer.
“The volunteers have been amazing. They put in hundred of hours each season and it is a really difficult time for them,” she said.
If you have any questions, phone the Ulladulla NPWS office on 4454 9500.