BirdLife Affiliate - Hunter Bird Observers Club - a very busy and successful year!

Once again we’ve had a very busy and successful year, with our membership reaching new record levels and our website and Facebook pages both being highly popular resources for our members and for the general community. Highlights for the year included hosting a Birdata workshop in which the 45 attendees honed their skills in using the new portal, and securing a grant from the Commonwealth’s Threatened Species Recovery Fund to restore salt marsh habitat in the Hunter Estuary. Since the workshop we’ve seen about a 50% increase in the number of Birdata surveys being submitted, and salt marsh is now being re-established on Smith and Sandy Islands which are at the mouth of the main shorebird feeding area in Fullerton Cove.

New editions of our Hunter Region annual bird report and our journal The Whistler were released in 2017 with copies provided to major national and international libraries and conservation-minded organisations as well as to our members and regional stakeholders. To help spread the word about birds, we participated in numerous community engagement opportunities, including the Tocal Field Days, Biodiversity Day, Welcome to Shorebirds, the Australian Bird Fair and several others including school visits. With the same aim, we also maintained our active media presence – using a combination of regular and ad hoc opportunities.

As well as having a busy social program of meetings, outings and camps in 2017, our members also were heavily involved in field work to support BLA projects (e.g. Shorebirds 2020 and Regent Honeyeater / Swift Parrot surveys) and the various regional field studies that we coordinate. We also continued to be active in our lobbying for improved conservation outcomes for birds.

Image: Our Intrepid Landcare team landing on an island in the Hunter Estuary to work on salt marsh restoration.