Plover catches eye of artist

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THE endangered hooded plover has appeared larger than life in Frankston.

The wall mural was painted by Jimmy Beatie for last month’s The Big Picture Festival of street art.

The appearance of the mural coincided with news on the bird’s survival front of 12 hooded plover chicks hatched on Mornington Peninsula beaches making it to the flying stage.

Diane Lewis, president of the Friends of the Hooded Plover group, said the mural and fledging of the chicks “is a wonderful tribute to the volunteers and the public who now acknowledge the bird’s existence”.

“Beachgoers, whether they are surfers, walkers, hang gliders or families spending a day at the beach have all taken an interest and given the birds room to breed,” Ms Lewis said.

“Some beaches, like 16th beach [near Rye], had two chicks fledge from the same clutch. This was in spite of one person picking up one of the chicks and taking it back to her car.

“One opportune phone call to a volunteer reassured her that the chick had not been abandoned. The chick was then returned to the beach where it had been hiding. It was seen running around the following day, with no adverse effects.”

Ms Lewis said it was more than seven years since that particular beach had seen a chick survive.

“Beaches across Rye had a total of five chicks fledge, once again unheard of since we started keeping records,” she said.

First published in the Frankston Times – 9 April 2018

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