One for the plover lovers

Jacinta Wehbe (with Tia) and Courtenay Baskerville (with Razz) with the hooded plover safety sign. 150758


Self-confessed “plover lover” John Murray was jumping with excitement last week as Ocean Grove welcomed three new chicks at 6W beach.
John saw the chicks hatch last Wednesday, and said they would be full-grown and flying in five weeks – if they survive.
“It’s an amazing growth cycle,” he said. “But they’ll be very vulnerable.”
John said only one set of plovers had taken flight in the last two years, out of 28 nests in Point Lonsdale and Ocean Grove.
“Dogs off the leash are a big problem for these birds,” he said.
John urged beachgoers to keep their distance from plovers and observe dog restrictions between Point Lonsdale and 6W Beach.
“A lot of people have dogs off the leash on 6W,” he said.
This year plovers have made 15 nests in Point Lonsdale and Ocean Grove. Only three sets have hatched, with one set taking flight so far.
Baby plovers feed under the guidance of their parents on the beach, wet sand and exposed reefs at low tide.
Their main diet is sand hoppers, which breed in decomposing seaweed.
The plovers are relatively safe once they learn to fly.
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