|Australian Painted Snipe|
|Pacific Golden Plover|
An overview of the site on River Road yesterday.
The same site today, following heavy rains overnight. The waders were still there but concentrated in flocks on isolated mud patches.
I noted recently how some of the grassland-wetlands habitat in this area had been destroyed for real estate development The grassland that was bulldozed was inhabited by several pairs of Lewin's Rail, a species listed as threatened under state legislation. I reported the development to the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection but was not even afforded the courtesy of a reply.
Since then, I have been contacted by the owners of some the best bird habitat in the area. They have tried to interest the Sunshine Coast Regional Council in purchasing 13 hectares of their land for a wildlife reserve.
Unfortunately the council has rejected the request because the land is not natural; it is human-modified. This is true - the land is former sugar cane plantation. However, these former farmlands provide excellent habitat for a range of species which have been largely eliminated from the region by the destruction of wallum heath and wetlands for residential development.
That they are not natural should be no barrier to their protection - human-modified wetlands are the prime sites for birds and other wildlife in many parts of the world. Scarce or elusive birds that I have recorded regularly in the River Road area include Eastern Grass Owl, Lewin's Rail, Spotless Crake, Brolga, King Quail and Red-backed Buttonquail. Good numbers of raptors occur here including Spotted Harrier, Swamp Harrier, Peregrine Falcon and Australian Hobby. Other birds include Buff-banded Rail, Bush Stone-Curlew and Tawny Grassbird. These latest sightings add to the case for conserving some of this habitat.
The land-owners referred to above will sell their land privately if the council is not interested, so this is a unique opportunity. People wanting the land protected as a reserve could contact the Sunshine Coast Regional Council - firstname.lastname@example.org - or the mayor, Mark Jamieson (phone 0754 418242 or email the address above, marked to the mayor's attention).