Waterway

Wetlands prove to be a destination of choice

Wednesday 23 April, 2014
Understanding the importance of wetlands to migratory species was the main focus of a field day held at Winton Wetlands recently.

Understanding the importance of wetlands to migratory species was the main focus of a field day held at Winton Wetlands recently.

Broken Boosey Conservation Management Network (BBCMN) Co-ordinator Janice Mentiplay-Smith said the event, Destination Chesney Vale, attracted more than 90 people keen to listen to guest speaker Chris Tzaros from Birds, Bush and Beyond and to tour the wetlands.

“We wanted to highlight to people that the wetlands – when they’re dry as well as when they’re wet – are vital to the ecology for not only local species, but distant, migratory species,” Ms Mentiplay-Smith said.

“Species such as the Latham’s Snipe and the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper that breed in Japan and Siberia migrate to Australia for their non-breeding period, which is our spring and summer. These birds as well as others like the Red-necked Stint that breed along the coastlines of Eurasia, depend on Winton Wetlands to feed and grow strong for the flight home to the Northern Hemisphere.”

Mr Tzaros also showed people the best spots to look for birds at the wetlands.

“It takes time and patience to see these birds, but the wait is worth it,” Mr Tzaros said. “It is incredible to think that a tiny bird has flown 15,000 kilometres – or more - to reach the Winton Wetlands.”

He recommended Greens Hill, the Duck Pond, Humphries and Ashmeads Swamp as good bird watching points.

Ms Mentiplay-Smith said there was clearly plenty of interest from local people in learning more about the wildlife that depended on the wetlands and the Chesney Vale region.

“Out of 94 attendees, 40 people were from the immediate region and we also had people attend from Whitfield, Wangaratta, Melbourne, Broadford, Shepparton and Tatura,” she said. “To see such strong local interest and interest from beyond is fantastic as it means there is a great curiosity and care for these birds.”

She thanked Benalla Bus Lines for providing transport and the Thoona CWA, who provided a “scrumptious” lunch and afternoon tea.

Note: The BBCMN will launch its Communities for Nature project Practical Parrot Action on Sunday, May 4 at Glenrowan Lions Park between 11am and noon. The project focusses on the Turquoise Parrot, which is also a species from the Warby Ranges and Chesney Vale district. For more information visit www.brokenbooseycmn.com or contact Janice Mentiplay-Smith on 0418 316 169 or janicem@gbcma.vic.gov.au