Durras Lake and Batemans Marine Park; Tuross River

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Subject: Durras Lake and Batemans Marine Park; Tuross River
From: "Rod's Gardening" <>
Date: Tue, 27 Mar 2007 00:05:00 +1000
Durras Lake is still closed to the sea meaning the higher water levels provide an excellent opportunity to easily access the far flung corners of this delightful lake and its tributaries.  So last Friday I paddled my kayak across the lake to Cumbralaway Creek taking in some birding highlights on the way including a pair of White bellied Sea Eagles, a Rose Robin on the western shore, and a pair of Azure Kingfishers along the creek banks. 
Birds such as Cormorants, Herons, Egrets, the Sea Eagles, and my personal favourite the Azure Kingfishers are regularly seen on any lake outing.  This area is about to be declared a Sanctuary Zone (i.e. no fishing) within the new Batemans Marine Park.  Stated benefits are said to be improved fishing in adjacent areas as fish breed and move out of sanctuary zones.  But I am wondering if, as fish numbers increase, will the population of aquatic birds and waders such as those mentioned above, perhaps even raptors like Sea Eagles and maybe Ospreys, also increase with the availability of more food. Or maybe the resident populations will just get fatter as they "fish illegally" within the sanctuary.
Saturday was Tuross River day, paddling in still, glassy conditions and accompanied by a chorus from the "who's who" of coastal bush birds.  At one point there was a very large tree fallen from the bank and now lying horizontally above the water.  The thin end of this tree contained a typical congregation of Little Black and Little Pied Cormorants.  I noticed another dark shape back towards the bank - to my surprise it turned out to be a large black billy goat, standing on the log about two metres above the water.  Geoffrey D would probably put some wings on it and rack up another tick!
Other highlights were what I am pretty sure was a little Egret (based on size alone as it kept flying ahead as I got close), and another Osprey.  (Personal Osprey tally now 3 at Tuross and Buckenbowra Rivers and Durras Lake).  I  Might have racked up more highlights but had to come scuttling home with a wet tail when the southerly and driving rain blew in.  On the drive home I called in to Tuross and saw 8 Pied Oyster Catchers and 6 Bar-tailed Godwits sheltering where Coila Lake nearly meets the sea.  While driving along the highway I noticed but of course couldn't count a flock of white throated needletails just north of the Tuross turn off, and a Pacific Heron near one of the farm dams.
Rod Mackay
Tel.  0407 456 330
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