A rare Hooded Plover born in Eurobodalla National Park has been spotted seven months later more than 850km kilometres north in Broadwater National Park.
National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Shorebird Ranger Kaitlyn O'Brien said she was over the moon when the call came in from the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme (ABBBS) reporting that 'Hoodie T7' had been spotted near Evans Head.
"Until now the maximum distance a banded Hooded Plover has been recorded moving is 376km, and that was after 5 years, so this little one has certainly started at a cracking pace," she said.
"We are not sure why Hoodie T7 is so adventurous as these beach-nesting birds are typically only seen on the south coast, so we are very keen to hear where it stops next.
"Our dedicated group of south coast shorebird volunteers monitored Hoodie T7 as a chick, watched it grow, shadow its parents and eventually fledge in January.
"Like it's parents, Hoodie T7 was banded and given an engraved leg flag for identification."
Ms O'Brien said branding Hooded Plovers provided valuable data that gave "wonderful insight" into the secret life of the bird.
"It helps us protect these very special birds," she said.
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"Thank you to the ABBBS volunteer who spotted T7 and reported it. It's incredible to learn that Hoodie T7 has ventured so far and we are really pleased to see it looking happy and healthy.
"It's extremely rewarding to know that our work protecting these birds during the nesting season pays off, and that we are contributing to the survival of this species."
Hooded Plovers are listed as Critically Endangered in NSW.
A recent census estimate puts the current NSW population at only 65 birds.
Despite their distinct black, white and red colouring, hoodies are difficult to spot during nesting season and are very vulnerable to disturbance.
The best way for people to help Hoodies and other beach-nesting birds is to share the shoreline. Be aware that shorebirds nest on NSW beaches from August to March. Give them space, leash dogs and walk on wet sand, avoiding the dunes.