Birdlife takes flight for spring

Birdlife takes flight for spring


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Egrets squabble as new resindents move into the Macquarie Marshes. National Parks ranger Nicola Brookhouse.

Egrets squabble as new resindents move into the Macquarie Marshes. National Parks ranger Nicola Brookhouse.

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Species flock to well watered western NSW

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A FEATHERED spectacle is on display across inland NSW and populations across an array of species has sprung back with widespread rain leading into Spring.

From Menindee Lakes, to the Central West and the Riverina wetlands and vegetation is flush with new life.

NSW Environment wetlands and rivers officer Tim Hosking said an influx of waterbirds has brought Macquarie Marshes to life, and a significant breeding event is heating up in the lead up to summer.

There are two Straw-necked Ibis colonies, with a whopping 50,000 and 30,000 nests in each.

“The skies are also filled with ducks, cormorants, Magpie Geese, egrets and herons. We’ve not seen birdlife at the Marshes quite like this since 2012, so it is fantastic to see the birds return in such good numbers,” Mr Hosking said.

He said there are two large Egret colonies, with 10,000 and 3,000 nests each, comprising mostly Intermediate Egrets, Eastern Great Egrets and Nankeen Night Herons and one large Royal Spoonbill colony with 500 nests. The nationally endangered Australasian Bittern, a variety of ducks, Brolgas, waterhens and Grebes have also come to the Marshes.

In Far Western NSW, Menindee Lakes are filling up. The site attracts up to 200 species of birds, including Black Swans, Budgerigars, Pelicans and Major Mitchell Cockatoos.

Like so many waterbirds, Glossy Ibis flock to the Riverina. Photo by Office of Environment and Heritage.

Like so many waterbirds, Glossy Ibis flock to the Riverina. Photo by Office of Environment and Heritage.

Current clement conditions for birdlife are a welcome step in the recovery of bird populations in the wake of the Millenium Drought, which hit saw species that could relocate vacate for the coast, while those that remained suffered in the driest weather cycle on record.

Dick Cooper – founder NSW Bird Atlassers Incorporated, an independent group dedicated to mapping and monitoring bird populations over time – said the previous two decades, marred by drought, took their toll.

“Waterbirds can move around fairly easily, but the little birds don’t have opp to do that, and a lot are territorial and a lot did it pretty tough during that period. We are depnding on those that hung on to regrow populations,” Mr Cooper said.

“It’s not just the water laying around, the rain has soaked-in across the country, which will be there for a good while. It remains to be seen how long this seasons lasts and how the birds recover, but there is a lot of good-looking country out there.”

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