18 January 2018….A keen group of bird enthusiasts and curious community members recently joined specialists from Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, BirdLife Australia and the Mandurah Bird Observers Group at the beautiful Lake Yalgorup to discover more about this diverse wetland and its migratory and resident bird populations.
13 people from the local community were lucky enough to share an early morning “Walk and Talk” at Lake Yalgorup led by Golo Maurer from BirdLife Australia along with Bill Russell and Bob Patterson from the Mandurah Bird Observers Group. This was a great chance for the group to spend a couple of hours bird-watching and enjoy a morning tea information session about the value of bird-watching survey data and how it will help Birdlife gain insight and protect Australia’s bird species.
Lake Yalgorup, a stunning wetland nestled in the Yalgorup National Park just south of Mandurah, is one of many lakes which make up the Peel-Yalgorup Wetland System. The 26,500 hectare wetland system, including Lake Yalgorup, is a designated wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention (Ramsar Site 482) and is renowned as the largest and most diverse estuarine system in southern WA.
By organising this event at Lake Yalgorup, PHCC hope to introduce residents from Mandurah and the broader catchment area to bird-watching, meet and connect with experienced bird-watchers, promote the beauty and attractions of the Peel-Yalgorup wetland system and share information about the importance of bird-watching.
Beginning the Bird Walk and Talk at Martins Tank campsite, the group braved wet weather to explore the bushland around Lake Yalgorup. As experienced bird-watchers eager to share their knowledge and expertise, Golo, Bill and Bob talked with the group about the diverse wetland, local bird species, and how individuals and groups can take part in bird monitoring. Despite the poor weather conditions, the group enjoyed the experience, soaking up (pardon the pun!) the beauty of the surrounding landscape and spotting twelve different species of birds.
During the morning tea information session, Golo demonstrated how to complete a bird survey using the innovative citizen science App, Birdata. Birdata is a gateway to BirdLife Australia data where users can draw bird distribution maps, generate bird lists for any part of the country and also submit survey information to this important environmental database. The group entered their sightings for the day on Birdata, with a few of them downloading the App and entering the survey data themselves.
Golo also talked about BirdLife’s Guardian program, another citizen science initiative where people and groups can register to become guardians of Key Biodiversity Areas and take part in annual Easter Health Checks which report on the condition of an area. By becoming a guardian of Key Biodiversity Areas and using the mobile App Birdata, community members are able to contribute to a pool of valuable scientific data and create a snapshot of an area helping BirdLife and other environmental organisations protect bird species and their habitat.
PHCC plans to organise more events just like this in the future. If you’re interested in learning about birds and how to bird-watch, please register your interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Andy Gulliver from PHCC said, “Yalgorup Lake is a part of the Peel-Yalgorup System, a wetland of international importance listed Ramsar 482 site. The ecologically diverse site is recognised for its migratory and wetland birds and PHCC is pleased assist in connecting residents with an opportunity to learn about this unique environment and try their hand at bird-watching. Bird monitoring plays a crucial part in conserving this special area. We are thrilled to able to introduce new people to these groups and to the many opportunities for them to play a role in citizen science projects that make a valuable contribution to conservation of the Peel-Yalgorup Wetland.”
To find out more about Birdlife, Birdata and Key Biodiversity Areas please visit the following link at https://birdata.birdlife.org.au/
The Bird Walk and Talk at Lake Yalgorup was supported by funding from the Western Australian Government’s State NRM Program.
Media Contact: Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Jane.Omalley@old.peel-harvey.org.au, (08) 6369 8800
We acknowledge the Noongar people as Traditional Custodians of this land and pay our respects to all Elders past and present