Endangered pied oystercatcher chick hatched at Emerald Beach

Mum, Dad and fluffy chick – early days on Emerald Beach. Photo: Gail Yager.


THE successful hatching of a Pied Oystercatcher chick at Moonee Beach has thrilled the locals and bird watchers alike.

“This is exciting news as Pied Oystercatchers are listed as endangered in NSW,” Bellingen Birdwatchers member Gail Yager told News Of The Area.

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“I was alerted to the fact that a female Pied Oystercatcher was sitting on a nest by Mark Watt from NPWS at Emerald Beach.

“He asked me to watch out for a ‘runner’ (chick).

“I was then told by Jeffery Iddles that he and his wife, Debbie had noticed the birds mating some weeks before.

“Jeff has taken a keen interest in the Pied Oystercatchers who live on Moonee Beach near Look At Me Now Headland.”

Between Jeff and Gail, they undertook daily monitoring of the nest.

Uncertain when the egg was laid, Gail says they were probably a little early but never-the-less started checking the nest daily.

The incubation period is 28 days.

“Each day we were anticipating the arrival of the chick.

“One day, Jeff and I both noticed the female was sitting higher in the nest.

“The next day I received an excited message from Jeff saying the chick has hatched ‘bring your camera and start shooting away’ – I was off like a light,” she said

“When I arrived at the beach there was Mum and Dad and a very fluffy, wobbly chick on the beach.

“It was like witnessing a miracle.”

Staying low in the dunes, Gail started snapping away, as is her wont.

Gail is the current overall winner of the recent Nature Photography Competition run by CeX Coffs Camera Club, with her photo of a swooping Osprey also taken at Emerald Beach.

“Jeff arrived, and together, we watched the family in awe.

“Dad was very attentive, gathering food from the water’s edge and encouraging the chick to feed.”

The water is a long way from the nest in the dunes.

“The chick tired quickly and would plop down and rest.

“Being very shaky on its feet, it toppled over a few times.”

As the success rates of survival for the chicks are quite poor, Gail, Jeff and local birders breathe a sigh of relief each day when they see the chick.

“Luckily dogs are not allowed on this beach as they are a threat to the chicks as are feral cats, foxes and vehicles…so far, so good.”




Endangered Oystercatchers successfully hatch one chick on Emerald Beach. Photo: Gail Yager.

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