Wimmera CMA and Stawell Camera Club marked National Bird Week with the launch of a revised edition of The Glovebox Guide to Wimmera Wetland Birds at Stawell’s Cato Lake on Monday.
The launch coincided with Birdlife Australia’s #AussieBirdCount and called on all Australians to become volunteer counters and contribute to a national database of Australian birds.
More than 61,000 people participated in the #AussieBirdCount and counted over 1.4 million birds last year.
Wimmera bird researcher Jonathan Starks helped to update the Wimmera guide, which was first published in 2004.
He said the region was in the grips of drought and many wetlands were dry when the guide was first printed.
“When the Millennium Drought broke in 2010 we saw a lot of wetland birds return that hadn’t been seen in the Wimmera for many years,” Mr Starks said.
“We also have environmental water for wetlands and through monitoring we are seeing many different wetland birds return plus new ones.”
Wimmera CMA waterways officer Greg Fletcher said they had replaced many of the stock images from the first guide with Stawell Camera Club images.
The birds in the new guide were also in the order of a Birds Australia report, on which the original guide was based.
“It is fantastic to have the opportunity to update and improve this guide,” Mr Fletcher said.
“It also contains interesting notes about each wetland bird.
“Having local photos taken by local people also makes the revised guide even more special.” Mr Fletcher said Wimmera CMA was also starting a social media campaign as part of the launch, so people could get a free copy of the guide.
“All they have to do is head outdoors and take photos of wetland birds and share them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the hashtage #wimmerawaterways or #wimmerawaterbirds,” he said.
“We’ll then post them a free copy of the guide.”
He said people also had the opportunity to submit photos of wetland birds for future editions.
“We loved being able to select images from Stawell Camera Club for this edition, and are always interested in seeing Wimmera wetland birds in their natural habitat,” Mr Fletcher said.
“It’s also a good complement to our own monitoring activities if someone sees a wetland bird in an area we haven’t seen them before.”
Up to 23,239 people participated in the national bird count in 2014. This number grew to 42,298 in 2015, then 61,418 last year.
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