Participants in the workshop discover the importance of estuarine biodiversity in Urunga.
Participants in the workshop discover the importance of estuarine biodiversity in Urunga.

Discover biodiversity in backyard

DO YOU know the difference between a beach stone curlew and a pied oystercatcher?

Participants of recent community workshops held by WetlandCare Australia certainly do.

To celebrate the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity, workshops were held at several coastal locations on the Mid North Coast including, Red Rock, Urunga and Coffs Creek with the aim of offering an opportunity for locals to recognise the significance of estuarine wetlands, highlight wetland complexity and sensitivity and to inspire action toward their conservation.

“Seeing and hearing a number of different bird species demonstrates just how critical estuarine wetlands are in terms of biodiversity – if there are birds feeding, there must also be fish, crabs and other benthic organisms in supply,” Kirralee Donovan, WetlandCare Australia project officer, said about sightings made on recent workshops.

The biodiversity workshops were well attended with community members excited to explore and learn more about their local wetland with a range of habitat types explored and a number of different species observed and discussed.

Participants at the Red Rock workshop ventured through different estuarine habitat types including saltmarsh, mangroves, swamp forests, sedgelands and littoral rainforest, learning about the range of species dependent on healthy waterways for survival.

At Urunga the conditions proved ideal for shorebird identification with the sighting of a number of threatened species being a highlight of the project.

Participants were lucky enough to see, not only one, but two beach stone curlews, a critically endangered species, sooty as well as pied oystercatchers plus eastern curlews, whimbrels and a number of bar-tailed godwits all of which migrate to Australia from overseas.

Coffs Creek was the star venue of the final workshop.

Participants caught a glimpse of raptors in the pursuit of prey and a range of shorebirds, and were also taught the skill of identifying bird calls.

WetlandCare Australia is a not-for-profit wetland conservation organisation dedicated to working with communities to protect, promote and restore wetlands and has a broad range of free wetland, water and biodiversity educational material available for school children, professionals and the general community.

For more information, and to find out the difference between a beach stone curlew and a pied oystercatcher visit: www.wetlandcare.com.au or contact Kirralee Donovan on 6652 5589 or kirralee donovan@wetlandcare.com.au.



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