Threatened Pied Oystercatcher
nests on South Ballina Beach from August to January
Pied Oystercatchers are listed as a "vulnerable
species" in New South Wales. The South Ballina to Bundjalung
National Park area supports between 30-70 birds with numbers
fluctuating annually. This is up to a quarter of the total
state population of 250 birds. There are 25-30 breeding pairs
of Pier Oystercatchers in this area, however, breeding success
is low. The 17 breeding pairs on South Ballina beach are very
significant for the preservation of the species.
The Pied Oystercatcher breeds in pairs from August to January
each year (earlier in the north of Australia). A breeding
territory of some 200metres is formed and is defended by
both birds. Nesting takes place on sand, shell grit or shingle
just above high water mark on beaches, sandbars, margins
of estuaries and lagoons. The two or three eggs are well-camouflaged,
being pale brown with darker brown and black blotches and
streaks. Both sexes share parenting duties.
How can you help protect this endangered species?
We have been working closely with the National Parks &
Wildlife Service and the Department of Lands to develop
a Management Strategy to improve the successful fledging
of the birds and preserve the pristine condition of the
beach. The draft Management Strategy recommends Horse riding
and Four Wheel Driving be restricted to the inter-tidal
zone below the high water mark. This means a little planning
is required before you venture onto the beach each day.
During your stay we will provide you with a tide chart to
assist you in planning the best time to horse ride and drive
on the beach. Please ensure pets do not roam on the beach,
particularly at night. Domestic animals should be kept on
leads at all times.
How does this affect your beach ride?
To ensure our presence on the beach does
not damage any nests, when you book we check the tides and
choose a mutually suitable time, in this way we ride on the
inter-tidal zone of the beach and not on the dunes or near
the foot of the dune where the birds nest. As a general rule
we are not allowed to ride within 10 meters of the base of
the sand dunes during nesting season.