26 May 2020
Calling all birds to the poop deck! Enjoy the view from new real estate on the Waterbird Refuge!!
The Waterbird Refuge at Sydney Olympic Park plays host to an incredible number and variety of waterbirds. Three artificial islands help to provide additional real estate; a dirt island constructed in 2007 and two floating islands constructed out of poly pipe and floating marine foam added in 2012. These islands provide supplementary habitat for roosting and nesting waterbirds as management of water levels were changed to improve ecological health.
The Black-winged Stilt is a resident shorebird that can be seen at the Refuge all year round. This species nests on the ground and is highly vulnerable to nest failure from flooding and predation. The Stilts prefer an island for roosting and nesting as the watery moat provides protection against land predators and also reduces the impact of human activity from a popular path right next to the water. The combination of distance from shore, surrounded by water and no disturbance was perfect; the birds took to them like ducks to water!
The islands have been a great success with monitoring identifying twenty-one species present – ducks, pelicans, cormorants, gulls, Welcome Swallows and more! The islands proved to be very suitable to Black-winged Stilts with up to ten Stilt nests observed at one time. Black Swans have also successfully nested and ducks frequently bring their ducklings in to rest.
The storms of early February tore one island from its place and cast it against the western shore, rendering it unusable. This month, a new improved island has arrived. Comprised of poly pipe, recycled plastic sheeting (the poop deck) and covered with geofabric, it is anticipated that the new island will be more robust and longer lived than the original design. Let’s hope this new island will have a long and useful life supporting roosting and breeding waterbirds.
The Black-winged Stilt is a resident shorebird found in large numbers © Kay Gordon
|Installation of the new floating island at the Waterbird Refuge||
Floating islands provide safe roost and nest sites for waterbirds