Historic waterbird breeding

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Historic waterbird breeding
From: "Greg" <>
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 10:46:36 +1100
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 water diversion? 
Greg Clancy
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