Date: Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Project: Eastern Australian Waterbird Survey

Observers: John Porter & Shannon Dundas

Trainee: Amelia Selles

Pilot: Tim Dugan

It’s our first day of waterbird surveys for 2019 - the 37th year of this expansive wildlife monitoring program has been eyes in the skies over wetlands & rivers. Preparing audio recorders, GPS loggers and GoPro cameras takes some time before we pack the aircraft and head north for a 20 day aerial odyssey across eastern Australia. Once again we have Tim Dugan from NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service providing his expert low level piloting skills. Dr Shannon Dundas from NSW Department of Primary Industries is now a qualified counter this year. Also joining the team this year as a trainee counter we have Amelia Selles from Queensland Department of Environment & Science and Photographer Gary Cranitch from the Queensland Museum. This reflects the support of the State Governments in this survey which runs across Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria.

Traversing the Hawkesbury river estuary and heading north

Surveying along the Myall River

After traversing the dense bushland ridges of the Hawkesbury River estuary, our first target is the Myall River, followed by the great estuarine lakes Myall Lakes, where we expect to see reasonable numbers of estuarine species but today the numbers are low, just a few Black Swans and cormorants – no ducks at all.

Our next stop is a few small coastal wetlands near the Bellingen River – where we find very few birds. We continue north to our next survey sites – more small coastal wetlands on the Brunswick River; again we find low numbers of waterbirds We continue north past Stradbroke and Morton Islands before heading in to Maroochydore for the evening