Summer shorebird surveys across Eyre Peninsula

News article |

Eastern Curlews, Red Knots, Red-necked Stints, Sand Plovers and Sanderlings were just a few of the species counted in this year’s 2020 Shorebird surveys across Eyre Peninsula.

Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula staff and highly skilled volunteers surveyed 34 key areas by foot and boat across the Eyre Peninsula coastline from Whyalla, down to Port Lincoln and across to Cactus Beach.

Natural Resources Management Officer Rachael Kannussaar said identifying individual species of migratory shorebirds is not easy, and takes years of practice. “We are so fortunate to have dedicated volunteers and staff with these skills who have been identifying and monitoring shorebirds on Eyre Peninsula for decades,” Ms Kannussaar said.

During February this year valuable data was collected for Birdlife Australia as part of Australia's National Shorebird Monitoring Program (Shorebirds 2020). Long-term monitoring of shorebirds is vital to many species, especially those which might be having a harder time due to a range of impacts.

“Migratory species arrive from the northern hemisphere in spring and spend the summer months on our shores.

We are very lucky to have a diverse coastal environment with large protected areas which attract these shorebirds because of the vital food resources they provide. These birds need to feed and regain their strength ready for their long flight north in autumn.

This year we recorded 2,547 birds at Point Longnose in the Coffin Bay National Park. This included a number of threatened migratory shorebird species including the Red Knot, Curlew Sandpiper, Bar-tailed Godwit, Greater Sand Plover and resident shorebird species such as the Fairy Tern and Pied Oystercatcher.”

Key habitat for migratory and resident shorebirds on Eyre Peninsula includes saltmarsh, sand flats, island and protected embayments. Saltmarshes along Eyre Peninsula’s coastline are home to a number of prey species including insects, molluscs, crustaceans and worms which provide rich food sources for resident and migratory shorebirds, such as Pied and Sooty Oystercatchers, Bar-tailed Godwits and Ruddy Turnstones.

Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula is working towards protecting the condition of Eyre Peninsula’s coastal saltmarsh habitats as important feeding areas for shorebirds with the Eyre Peninsula Natural Resources Management Board’s Saltmarsh Threat Abatement and Recovery Project, funded through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

Having a good eye, attention to detail and love of the outdoors is vital to undertaking the surveys. If this is something you’d like to be part of for, please visit www.landscape.sa.gov.au/ep/get-involved/volunteering

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