Latham’s Snipe breed in Japan, and each year migrate to Australia for our summer. These large, elusive, handsome birds are in urgent need of protection and better management, so each year there are counts held all over Australia.
This year ANGAIR participated for the first time at Allen Noble Sanctuary, Aireys Inlet. The birds roost quietly during the day in or near wetlands, blending in perfectly with their surroundings, and come out in the evening to forage for food. In order to see and count them they need to be flushed out, necessitating the use of gumboots as well as binoculars.
However, the day chosen was immediately after the heaviest rainfall for the year, so the water level in the sanctuary was too high for us to wade in. We also did not wish to look in the reedy area at the back due to the possibility of disturbing nesting swans. Instead we counted other birds, and came up with 19 species, including another very elusive bird, the Buff-banded Rail, and a Great Egret.
Birds identified at Allen Noble Sanctuary:
The regular monthly bird walk was held the following week at Lot 2, further along the Painkalac Valley. We met at the bridge over the Painkalac Creek, as there had been some interesting sightings there when it was opened up the previous week and mud flats exposed. The best came near the end when the largest Australian tern, the Caspian, flew over us with its robust scarlet bill shining in the sun.
Altogether, we saw 32 bird species. Firstly, we saw several species of water birds in the ephemeral billabong. Then several Dusky Woodswallows, which are summer visitors, mainly sitting on fencing posts around a newly seeded area.
Most species, such as the delightful Sacred Kingfisher, were seen down by the river in the remnant riparian woodland.
We were amazed to see the changes in the whole block in just 18 months of planting. The rich soil is ensuring the quick growth of most of the 4500 new plants. As they mature it will indeed be a wonderful area for many more birds and other fauna.
Birds identified at Lot 2, Bambra Road:
There are a number of wonderful local Friends Groups that provide ANGAIR members and the community with opportunities for involvement.