Water, but few waterbirds

To: "chat line" <>
Subject: Water, but few waterbirds
From: "Michael and Janette Lenz" <>
Date: Sat, 18 Sep 2010 18:50:59 +1000

A couple of recent messages to the chat line expressed disappointment at the lack of waterbirds (numbers and variety) at Lake Bathurst (Morass) [B] and Lake George [G] although both lakes have partially re-filled. Let?s put this into perspective: What happens or doesn?t happen at those lakes is not just determined by local conditions but also by events hundreds or thousands of kilometers away.

If B & G hold water during periods of drought in inland Australia, they become important refuges for many species of waterbirds which can congregate in large numbers, as COG?s past surveys have shown. However, with inland Australia currently experiencing an exceptional boom - lakes are filling and creeks and rivers are running - many waterbirds have ?moved to where the action is? and aim to breed there rather than populating our local lakes.


Of course, matters can be even a bit more complex: At the first flooding of dry water bodies many nutrients are released, and birds may take advantage of this situation. There were certainly more waterbirds when B & G held water for the first time earlier this year than there are now.


Nevertheless, if we are lucky enough that B & G will fill further and retain their water, we will probably see an increase in waterbird numbers and species, but just not right now.


Lastly, a correction: In yesterday?s message about our efforts to get access to the shores of Lake George through local landholders, I wrongly stated it is the ?western? side of the lake, however, it should have read the ?eastern? shore.


Michael Lenz

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