Re the (likely) Long-billed Dowitcher at Lake Tutchewop, I ran in the water
manager of the lake on Sunday. He'd heard about the Dowitcher via a news
release and was quite astonished to see how many birders were visiting.
However, he also mentioned, that the reason he was there was to turn the water
that diverts into the Lake Tutchewop off. In terms of background, the Barr
Creek Drainage Disposal Scheme (BCDDS) diverts saline water into Tutchewop
Lake, thus preventing ~30,000 t/year of salt from entering the Murray River. He
predicted that the lake would dry out very quickly i.e. on the next couple of
hot days. Therefore, if anyone wants to see it, you may want to do so fairly
As an aside, he also mentioned that Lake Tutchewop was currently embroiled in a
legal case with local farmers over an issue of water seepage. BCDDS had just
spent several million dollars investigating this, and it appears that it's
true, As a result, the future of Lake Tutchewop is in question. Being part of
the Kerang Lakes Ramsar sites this could be devastating, particularly for
saline dependent species such as Banded Stilt and various waders!
On another note, I just thought I’d mention that I saw the (likely) Long-billed
Dowitcher on Saturday! What a strikingly good looking bird, and in full
breeding plumage – such an interest long bill! Afterward I had a few quiet ales
with friends to celebrate! Very nice.
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