Published on 15 December 2020

Fledged Hooded Plover chick for Onkaparinga’s sweethearts

They’ve done it!

Harvey and Daphne – a pair of Hooded Plovers that have been together in Onkaparinga for a decade – have raised a chick to fly at Port Willunga this month.

It’s their first fledged chick (grown large enough to fly) since 2015, and the first in Onkaparinga this breeding season.

The little guy or girl—named ‘Will’ by volunteers (in a nod to Port Willunga)—was spotted by taking its first flight last week.

Harvey and Daphne, who were named with the public’s help via an Onkaparinga Now/News Limited poll last year, have laid 14 nests over the past five years, each with two-to-three eggs, but only 11 chicks have hatched—Will being the first to fledge.

It’s fantastic news for the nationally vulnerable birds, which have a low chance of survival as chicks because they can’t fly for the first five weeks; become easily frightened by humans and off-leash dogs, and are susceptible to a range of predators.

There were 17 fledged chicks in the Fleurieu Peninsula region last breeding season (August to March) including three in Onkaparinga, which was a great improvement on the previous year when there were no chicks across Onkaparinga’s beaches.

There are currently seven other active Hooded Plover nesting sites in Onkaparinga, with three set to hatch in the coming days and three chicks running around the city’s beaches. There are high hopes for more fledged chicks.

Harvey and Daphne’s success is a timely reminder for all beachgoers to do their part to protect the Hoodies while they’re breeding.

You can do this by giving them plenty of room so they don’t get disturbed, following the temporary beach restrictions through fencing and signage, and keeping dogs on a leash.

Hooded Plover volunteers regularly check the beaches, raise awareness and identify when and where the birds are nesting.

When a nest is identified, City of Onkaparinga’s Parks and Natural Resources team works with project partners from Green Adelaide (through funding from the Landscapes Levy), the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and BirdLife Australia to follow guidelines that have proven to improve breeding success.

Regular breeding sites in the City of Onkaparinga are Moana Beach, Ochre Cove Beach, Maslin Beach, Port Willunga Beach, Snapper Point/Aldinga North, Aldinga Beach and Port Stanvac.

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Will stretching its wings in late November. Photo: Sue and Ash Read