Endangered shorebirds' home trashed, eggs allegedly stolen

Eurobodalla Council and the National Parks and Wildlife Service are encouraging residents and visitors to give endangered shorebirds a break after an at-risk pair on Narooma's Lewis Island was disturbed, and eggs from a South Durras nest taken, this month.

The council said pied oystercatchers are endangered in NSW and just 200 breeding pairs were left in the - 50 of them were on the South Coast.

Earlier this month, a group partied on the shores of Lewis Island at Narooma, leaving behind their rubbish and damage to the environment where two endangered pied oystercatchers live.

Earlier this month, a group partied on the shores of Lewis Island at Narooma, leaving behind their rubbish and damage to the environment where two endangered pied oystercatchers live.

The council said a pair had been living on Lewis Island for the past seven years, successfully raising a number of chicks, despite the relatively urban location.

"An egg they laid earlier this season was lost a couple of weeks ago, probably to a dog or a fox," a council spokesperson said.

"The pair was expected to try again before the breeding season ends in January, but rowdy and poor behaviour has impacted the sensitive birds."

Council's natural resource management supervisor Heidi Thomson said on Friday night, October 9, a group had a party on the island until 1am, leaving behind a mess of cans and rubbish inside the roped shorebird roped.

Mess left behind on Lewis Island after a party inside the roped shorebird area.

Mess left behind on Lewis Island after a party inside the roped shorebird area.

"No fires are permitted on the island, but they burned the signs, with fence posts found in the fire remains," Ms Thomson said.

"In the same week a car was driven into the water next to the island and was subsequently hauled out."

Ms Thomson said the recent disturbances meant the pair probably wouldn't lay another egg for a few weeks.

"This means they have only four weeks to hatch their chick, and another four weeks to fledge the chick, before the busy summer period," she said.

Meanwhile, earlier this month unknown offenders allegedly took pied oystercatcher eggs from three nesting sites in Durras, disconnecting electric fences around the sites to gain access.

Endangered pied oystercatchers. Photo: Leo Berzins.

Endangered pied oystercatchers. Photo: Leo Berzins.

Environmental volunteer group Friends of Durras has since installed surveillance cameras to protect the remaining eggs.

Ms Thomson said pied oyster catchers were very susceptible to disturbance - it's one of the reasons they're endangered.

A pair of endangered pied oystercatchers who call Narooma's Lewis Island home has been disturbed following rowdy behaviour on the island. image: Supplied.

A pair of endangered pied oystercatchers who call Narooma's Lewis Island home has been disturbed following rowdy behaviour on the island. image: Supplied.

"We don't want to fence off large areas of the beach from the community, instead we are trying to share the shoreline with the birds by reducing disturbance," she said.

"We really need the community to pay attention to shorebird nesting signs, always leash dogs near shorebird nesting areas, and walk on wet sand where possible as shorebirds use the sand above the high tide mark and the dune systems to nest.

"If we don't do our best to minimise disturbance we will lose them from our beaches forever."

For more information on the South Coast Shorebird Recovery Program, including a wealth of video resources, head to https://www.southcoastshorebirds.com.au/

A pair of endangered pied oystercatchers has been breeding on Narooma's Lewis Island for the past seven years. Photo: Lisa Brown.

A pair of endangered pied oystercatchers has been breeding on Narooma's Lewis Island for the past seven years. Photo: Lisa Brown.

This story Endangered shorebirds' home trashed, eggs allegedly stolen first appeared on Bay Post-Moruya Examiner.

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