World Wetlands Day 2004 -- Australia -- Western District Lakes




The 'Borrell-a-Kandelop' team put on another World Wetlands Day activity which was enthusiastically attended by the local and regional community.

The Western District Lakes Ramsar Site has been project managed by Greening Australia (Victoria) since spring of 2001. 'Borrell-a-Kandelop' is a regional aboriginal phrase meaning "resting place for water birds". The project has been set up to improve the sustainable use of wetlands and to protect and rehabilitate the internationally significant Ramsar site by engaging the community. We hold four field days a year and last year ran a Managing Wetlands on Farms Course for the local community as well as engaging schools in environmental projects on the lakes.

A way of engaging the community on World Wetlands Day was to have a tour of some of the lakes looking at wading birds with two local bird specialists. A reconnaissance trip a few days earlier pinpointed the most likely spots; water, good habitat and birds. A dry start to summer had meant a limit of possibilities as some of the lakes are semi-permanent saline wetlands and by now most of the swamps have dried.

The day was attended by twenty five participants including local farmers, agency staff, biology students from Apollo Bay High School, bird watchers from the local area and Melbourne and GAV staff from the Colac and Melbourne offices.

The presenters took us to Lake Terangpom (a permanent freshwater wetland), Cundare Pool (permanent saline wetland) and Lake Rosine (permanent saline wetland). We saw a number of different types of birds including the families Podicipedidae (Grebes), Pelecanidae (Pelicans), Ardeidae (Herons), Plataleidae (Spoonbills), Anatidae (Cape Barren Geese, Swans, Ducks), Charadriidae (Lapwings), Recurvirostridae (Stilts), Scolopacidae (Sandpipers), Laridae (Terns) as well as a range of non wetland species. Highlights for the day included a courtship/territorial display of the male Musk Duck which is listed as vulnerable in Victoria and sightings of numerous wading birds including the migratory species Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper and Red-necked Stint. The wading species are all listed on the JAMBA, CAMBA and Bonn species lists. Altogether there were about twenty seven species recorded for the day. Unfortunately we did not spot any Brolgas (Grus rubicundus) on the day although many were seen in the previous week.

A good day was had by all and we all learnt something new about our wonderful visiting wading birds.

Karl Dickson
For the 'Borrell-a-Kandelop' team

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