Wheat

Shepparton stop over for Siberian sandpipers

Tuesday 28 January, 2014
Efforts to return to more natural wetting and drying regimes in wetlands across the Goulburn Broken Catchment are paying off with migratory birds last seen in the area six years ago spotted at Reedy Swamp recently.

Efforts to return to more natural wetting and drying regimes in wetlands across the Goulburn Broken Catchment are paying off with migratory birds last seen in the area six years ago spotted at Reedy Swamp recently.


Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) Environmental Water Officer Jo Wood said while sharp-tailed and marsh sandpipers migrated from Siberia each year to south-eastern Australia to escape the bitter northern winter, it was rare to see them at the wetland north of Shepparton.


“The marsh sandpiper is listed as a vulnerable species in Victoria and both species are covered under international treaties to protect migratory birds,” Ms Wood said.


“The last time we saw these sandpipers at Reedy Swamp was during 2008 when we’d delivered an environmental flow to the wetland during the drought, so it’s very exciting to see them here again.”


A regulator is used to control Reedy Swamp’s water levels.


“The heavy rain and flooding we’ve experienced in the past few years means Reedy Swamp has been wetter for longer than usual, so we’ve been slowly drawing down the water levels to create the drier environment wetlands need and that you would expect at this time of the year,” Ms Wood said.


“This management has created the mud flats that are perfect for the sandpipers who feed on waterbugs and little yabbies and fish in the shallows.”


Ms Wood said the sandpipers would start the 11,000km-plus flight back to Siberia in March, where they would breed during the short northern summer.


To find out more about Goulburn Broken CMA’s environmental water projects visit www.gbcma.vic.gov.au