PROTECTING BREEDING SITES OF AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS AND WHITE-FRONTED PLOVERS ALONG OUR COASTLINE – PROGRESS REPORT
Posted on the 28th April 2018
This is the report on one of the six projects forming part of the BirdLife Overberg conservation campaign on our coastline and estuaries, now being called the CleanMarine project. Like the "CleanMarine at BirdLife Overberg" Facebook page to receive regular news and updates on our projects. This is a report on progress made during April – the reports on the other five conservation projects are being published separately.
We appeal to members, friends and partners to forward ideas and talk to us on how we can raise more funds and investigate possible donations to sustain these CleanMarine projects in the short, medium and long term.
STATUS AT END OF APRIL 2018:
THE IDENTIFICATION OF BREEDING SITES
The identification of key breeding spots of African Black Oystercatchers & White-fronted Plovers along Overstrand beaches went well during the summer of 2017/ 2018 and we have a fair idea of key breeding areas along our coastline. It was decided to appoint “Oystercatcher Champions” before the next summer – these will be individuals at specific spots along our coast who will take responsibility for applying the educational campaigns at their home patches. Training on this should ideally be done by September.
AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS RAISING CHICKS
Several members have taken photographs of breeding birds and adults rearing chicks. Progress was made during April with the collation of images to illustrate how the chicks develop until they fledge. Jenny Parson’s images and those of Theanette Staal of APSS (The African Penguin and Seabirds Sanctuary) will be combined to create an overview of how the chicks develop. At a meeting with Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT) staffers on 9 April it was decided that we will develop a blog-type of system whereby we can post a day-by-day progress report on the website and social media. This will then probably be shared with BirdLife South Africa, the Nature’s Valley Trust and DICT, amongst others.
NEST WARNING SIGNS ON BEACHES
Officials from the Environmental Management Division of the Overstrand Municipality agreed in principle to have their red nest warning placards signs changed to incorporate themes addressed in the NVT placards. These include walking on wet sand only and putting dogs on leaches. It was also proposed that the municipality meet us halfway as far as the financing of these placards is concerned and we are awaiting their decision in this regard. 200 placards will be printed.
LARGE BEACH BEHAVIOUR POSTERS
Officials from the Environmental Management Division of the Overstrand Municipality further agreed that the big beach behaviour posters should be erected at six spots: Kleinbaai harbour, and the beaches at Grotto, Onrus, Hawston, Kleinmond, Betty’s Bay and Pringle Bay. They were requested to meet us halfway with the costs of these resources and they will get back to us on this. Quotations for the development of these resources have been received but this does not include the purchase of poles and the erection thereof. Sponsors are being sought for this.
THE PROPOSED ZONING OF BEACHES FOR DOGS
Dogs that are not on leaches represent a major problem for breeding African Black Oystercatchers and White-fronted Plovers. Research by members of the Nature’s Valley Trust indicated that the birds leave their nests earlier and return later when disturbed by dogs when compared to humans. Officials from the Environmental Management Division of the Overstrand Municipality agreed that a zoning system for dogs on beaches will have to be developed in time. They will get all the technical detail regarding by-laws and the like and we will get the success stories of managing dogs on beaches from other areas for future meetings on this. It is not envisaged that the zoning system will be put in place for the summer of 2018/ 2019, but probably only during the summer of 2019/ 2020.