Birds flocking to Lake Corangamite

Volunteers found more than 3500 banded stilts during a bird count at Lake Corangamite. Picture: Glenn Ehmke

BIRDWATCHERS have found close to 6000 shorebirds in the wetlands of Lake Corangamite.

BirdLife Australia Shorebirds 2020 project manager Dr Golo Maurer said he and nine observers did a summer survey of 24 wetlands looking for resident and migratory shorebirds.

“A total of 5940 shorebirds were found including 3769 banded stilts which have likely returned from their inland breeding grounds around Lake Eyre,” he said.

“Five-hundred-and-sixty-four red-necked stints each weighing hardly more than a small packet of chips also made their way from the Arctic to Lake Colac and Corangamite.”

Dr Maurer said they also found 392 sharp-tailed sandpipers and 102 curlew sandpipers, a “rapidly declining” species.

The two species of sandpipers migrate from the Arctic to Australia.

“Finally a total of 169 red-capped plovers emphasizes the importance of the lake system for breeding shorebirds as this number makes Lake Corangamite one of the top five sites for this species in the country,” Dr Maurer said.

“Altogether this tally is as impressive as the volunteer effort members of the Colac community have shown to gather these data.

“BirdLife is extremely grateful for such generous support of their conservation work.”

Other birds the group found at Lake Corangamite and surrounding lakes include 800 Australian shelducks, 111 great-crested grebes, 1300 little black cormorants, 2500 whiskered terns and 99 red-kneed dotterels.

Dr Maurer said BirdLife Australia launched a poster of shorebirds to “celebrate the importance of wetlands”.

“It is available to everyone who would like to learn more about these amazing little birds that

fill our wetlands and beaches with life,” he said.

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