World Wetland Day

World Wetland Day

Celebrating World Wetlands Day at the Slade Point Reserve on Saturday morning February 8 were 49 participants.

Thanks to Pioneer Catchments and Landcare’s Kade Slater and Conservation Volunteers Australia’s Alexandria Volling along with two Birdlife Mackay members (Gerry Woodruff and myself) who organised the successful event.

Broken River Kiosk

Broken River Kiosk

Whilst you’re enjoying one of Oscar’s speciality Yodel Burgers or a coffee outside the Broken River Kiosk and Information Centre, look up and see if there’s a ‘critter’ using the Southern Boobook Owl’s nest box.

Have a safe flight

Have a safe flight

Wave goodbye to the waders this weekend at Mackay’s newest environmental reserve. The migratory shorbirds spend from October to April each year in Australia, and include greenshanks, eastern curlews, great knots, lesser sand plovers (pictured above) and many other varieties.

As many as 23,000 waders will fly north as Reef Catchments holds its annual ‘Wave Goodbye to the Waders’.
BirdLife Mackay’s Daryl Barnes will lead the expidition. Mr Barnes explained the process the birds go through to get to our shores is “amazing”.

“All the migrating birds come from the northern hemisphere, they come from north Chins, Alaska, Siberia. They breed there,” he said. “After they’re born and they’re about six weeks old their parents leave because they’ll get snowed in – why they breed there in the first place has me – and they head south.”

Say goodbye to the waders today from 8:30am at Shellgrit Creek, near Illawong Beach.

[Extract from The Daily Mercury Article]

Indian Myna birds moving in

Indian Myna birds moving in

Mackay birdwatchers have reported an increase in the number of Indian Myna birds in the Beaconsfield and Andergrove areas.

Birdlife Australia Mackay president Daryl Barnes said over the past years Mackay had been fortunate enough to have an established community of Indian Myna birds unlike Townsville, Airlie Bean and most of the east coast of Australia.

But recent sightings have concerned Mr Barnes the Indian Myna might be settling in the suburban areas of Mackay forcing out honey eaters, sunbirds and other small birds.

One of his birdwatchers witnessed an Indian Myna evict a rosella out of its nest in a hollow of a tree, he said.

Mr Barnes is calling on residents to look out for the birds particularly around schools and if they are spotted to notify BirdLife Australia on (03) 9347 0757.

[Extract from The Daily Mercury]

Strange Bird & Bat Behaviour

Strange Bird & Bat Behaviour

The behaviour of birds and bats in the Mackay-Whitsunday appears ti have been thrown into disarray in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie.

It’s thought food shortages for the animals following the devastating weather event in late March are largely to blame.

Walkerston birdwatching, author and president of BirdLife Mackay, daryl Barnes, has noticed birds normally associated with rainforest like Eungella moving to populated areas in large numbers.

Another development – which may be seen as positive by some – is that some flying fox bat colonies appear to have moved on from some Mackay region towns. Mr Barnes said a large colony that used to roost near Walkerston home had all but vanished. He’s sure the strange scenario is down to changes in the birds’ and bats’ normal food supply, as the cyclone stripped fruit and berries from trees and shrubs.

“Anyone who takes particular interest and observes their environment will tell you that here, around Mackay, we have been seeing birds that we don’t normally associate with the area and they are here in numbers,” Mr Barnes said. “It goes to show you the devastating effects this cyclone has had on the environment, subtle changes that most people would not realise were occurring.

“Small fruit and berry eating specialists like the wompoo, superb, rose-crowned fruit doves, brown cuckoo does and emerald doves are some of the most noticeable birds affected. They are turning up around town in house backyards and other coastal bushland areas that support fruit and berry producing trees.”

Mr Barnes said the movements were putting pressure on ‘local’ birds relying on similar food sources, such as figbirds, friarbirds, mistletoebirds, silvereyes, rosellas, lorikeets and varied trillers.
“There is only a certain amount of food available to go around,” he said

When it came to the flying foxes, Mr Barnes was sorry to see the bats so badly affected by Debbie, but conceded he’d appreciate his Walkerston home not being covered in bat droppings and urine for the time being.

Discussing any potential long-term impacts on bats and birds after Debbie, Mr Barnes said he expected the animals to bounce back and eventually return to normal behaviour.

But if the apparent prevalence of severe weathe events in north queensland continues at its current rate, he’s concerned bird and bat recovery following events like Debbie will be increasingly difficult.

Generally, Mr Barnes described Mackay as an excellent, if underrated area for birdwatching in normal circumstances.