Assets with Eyes

Let’s go birding!

27 Oct 2020

What better way to celebrate Biodiversity Month than with long-term ecofriends? The Authority have a long relationship with Birdlife Australia (BA) and Cumberland Bird Observers Club (CBOC) in bird monitoring and conservation, and members of these groups graciously donated their time for one day each weekend in September to bring the Park’s diverse birdlife into focus for visitors, through ‘’Know your birds! Let’s go birding!’’ birdwatching sessions located at popular natural areas in the Park. As record numbers of people are coming from near and far to enjoy the Park’s natural features combined with good spring weather and lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, it was the perfect opportunity to introduce some of the Park’s biodiversity.

Each week, volunteer birdwatchers, ecology staff and/or Park Rangers helped visitors explore a different part of the Park that’s rich in birdlife, including Lake Belvedere at Bicentennial Park, Eastern Pond at Wentworth Common, the Northern Water Feature, and the bird hide at the Waterbird Refuge. Equipped with binoculars, spotting scopes and bird checklists, visitors were able to see and compare details that were not visible to them before. At Lake Belvedere, visitors could tell the difference between waterbirds that nest on the islands, including 4 species of cormorants, the Australian White Ibis, and the Australasian Darter. At Eastern Pond, visitors watched an Eurasian Coot build its nest, and children particularly liked the challenge of distinguishing between a Dusky Moorhen and an Eurasian Coot. At the Northern Water Feature, groups of mixed ages and sizes were keen to learn all about the Black Swans nesting there, and at the Waterbird Refuge, visitors were treated to the sight of Bar-tailed Godwits and Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, internationally protected migratory shorebirds that breed in the northern hemisphere and fly more than 10,000km to Australia every year to overwinter.

These volunteers’ contribution is in addition to their participation in the currently running Spring Bird Census - an annual eight-week bird survey program that began in 2004 to better understand bird richness and abundance and how to manage the Park to conserve them. Volunteers are recording almost 2,000 birds at each weekly survey across the Park, with 100 species recorded at the 6-week mark, including 38 species breeding. If you would like to know more about our diverse and beautiful feathered friends and how to identify them, please have a look at Birdlife Australia’s Birding at Home videos, visit the Birdlife Discovery Centre in Newington Amory or take the free guided bird walk run by BirdLife Southern NSW on the last Sunday of every month from 10am.

A male Australasian Darter at Lake Belvedere, Bicentennial Park
Eurasian Coots are common in many of the Park’s wetlands
Migratory Bar-tailed Godwits at the Waterbird Refuge © Jon Irvine

A male Australasian Darter at Lake Belvedere, Bicentennial Park 

Eurasian Coots are common in many of the Park’s wetlands 
© Marie Kobler

Migratory Bar-tailed Godwits at the Waterbird Refuge © Jon Irvine