Two historic waterbird breeding events have
occurred in the Clarence Valley, north coast New South Wales, in the past two
weeks. Eric Wheeler had a group of Magpie Geese at his dam at 'Jacana
Homestead' at Clarenza. He suspected breeding but it wasn't until Alan
Morris found 9 goslings that it was confirmed. The other event, also first
noted by Alan Morris and Eric Wheeler, is the nesting by up to 40 Straw-necked
Ibis at Lawrence.
The Magpie Goose record is probably the first
confirmed breeding record in the Clarence Valley for over 100 years. We
had an unconfirmed breeding event in 2004 when a group of about 30 geese
resident at Waterview Heights disappeared for a couple of months, at which time
small groups were observed in the Coldstream Wetlands, where juvenile geese were
heard calling at night. Then over 100 geese, about 30 adults, and the rest
juveniles turned up at Waterview Heights. They almost certainly bred at
the Coldstream but in the absence of sightings of eggs or very young goslings,
immigration of adults and juveniles can't be totally ruled out.
The Ibis nesting would appear to be the first
coastal breeding of the species in eastern Australia. HANZAB indicates
that they do breed on the coast in Western Australia.
Is this a consequence of the poor condition of the
traditional inland breeding sites that have been badly impacted by drought and