Our NSW branches in 2018
We asked our groups a few questions about how they fared in 2018, including, what their biggest achievement was, how many volunteers hours they put in and how many surveys and events they did over the year. In total, 140k volunteer hours, 40k surveys and 5000 events happened across our Network in 2018, what an achievement!
Monitoring Key Biodiversity areas, as well as the birds of travelling stock routes, continued; groups in northern NSW worked with the Beach-nesting Bird Program to develop a volunteer base to protect beach-nesting birds along the coast; the first Birdhaven Festival in Shoalhaven was a great success, raising awareness of birds among the crowds that attended; and EagleCam allowed us to keep an eye on our resident White-bellied Sea-Eagles in Sydney. For more detail branch by branch see below…
Judy Harrington and the other Eagle Cam volunteers to have made the most important contribution. alongside our programs to engage children - "Day of the Dinosaur" activity at Macquarie Uni; Hoilday Activities at Sydney Olympic Park - "Walk and Squawk" and Origami; working with the National Indigenous Science Education Program with Nest fest activities in Science Week; Youth Eco Summit. Plus our BirdLife Discovery Centre and EagleCAM, which engages people from all over the world.
BirdLife Shoalhaven supported the inaugural Bird Haven Festival in Shoalhaven Heads in October. This attracted 120 people, some from Sydney and Canberra, with a showing of the Chasing our Birds film, talks, including author of The Eastern Curlew and an avian palaeontologists, and bird walks. Importantly one third of attendees were new to bird watching and are now on our supporter database. The Festival was supported by local businesses and Shoalhaven Council. BirdLife Shoalhaven raised $1,000 over the weekend and we learnt of further funding opportunities over the weekend. The Festival will now be a regular event at the start of Bird Week and next year's event is being planned to be bigger and in multiple centres
Birdata surveys are completed at our two KBAs and at the 12 bird walks featured in a bird walks brochure funded by the Council. I am not sure of the number - 50?
Our biggest achievement in all recent years has been BirdLife member engagement through twice-yearly Campouts. These allow members (and potential members) from our huge geographical area to meet and network - exchanging ideas and enthusiasms for conservation projects. We also aim for locations where we can utilise the knowledge and expertise of local bird clubs (such as our recent Spring campout in association with Hastings Birdwatchers) or engage with Key Biodiversity Areas and their Guardians (such as our recent Autumn Campout at Lightning Ridge - Narran Lakes KBA). Our Campouts attract 50 - 70 participants, and are a major organisational challenge for our committee, but so far our enthusiasm has been unflagging!
Regular Urunga shorebird and wetland surveys (Birdata). Monthly springtime surveys in New England KBA for Rufous Scrub-birds (Birdata). Surveys at twice-yearly Campouts (Birdata). 10-day annual surveys at Naree/Yantabulla Stations (Bush Heritage) in Paroo Floodplain/Cunnamulla KBA (Birdata). Other occasional Birdata surveys elsewhere. Many Birdata surveys organised by Northern Rivers sub-branch and reported elsewhere.
Our Nth Rivers local branch Working with the National Beach-nesting Bird Program to develop a volunteer base for protection of Tweed's Beach and Ground-nesting birds (Bush and Beach Stone-Curlews and Pied Oystercatchers. Developing a rapport with the local council to rapidly protect nests with enclosures. Offering our expertise in the current review of dogs on beach in Tweed Shire.
Monitoring on Travelling Stock Reserves Aiming to increase the number of Birdata surveys undertaken by our members, and as a focused conservation strategy, BLSH has commenced quarterly surveys at ten Travelling Stock Reserves near the small town of Taralga, which sits in the extreme south west corner of the branch area. The “Long Paddock” Project aims to promote the recreational and bio-diversity value of these unique public lands, and thus strengthen the case for their preservation. This BLSH Project is supported by the Goulburn Office of the NSW Department of Local Land Services . BLSH has produced a project manual featuring a map of each TSR, GPS Information, details of each Land Title [Deposited Plan and Lot Number], and elevation. A fixed route around each TSR has been plotted so that repeat Birdata 500 metre Area Searches can be undertaken with an acceptable degree of consistency .
Since the BOCA/BA Merger, Birdata has been promoted as the preferred vehicle for recording all bird activity across our branch. Based on Birdata records, BLSH has produced and regularly updates a branch bird list covering all centres in the NSW post code range, 2570-2580. Formal Birdata surveys are undertaken at a total of ten branch sites along Mittagong Creek and the Wingecarribee River, in association with conservation projects initiated by the Wingecarribee Shire Council and Greening Australia respectively. Bird Lists from branch outings are also recorded on Birdata, as are the results of the three annual Latham’s Snipe counts undertaken as part of the Snipe Project. The Branch has now entered Birdata records at almost 90 sites across the region, including a recently created shared Birdata site in the Thirlmere Lakes National Park. At the beginning of 2018, a designated Management Committee Position, Birdata Records Officer, was created to maximise the potential offered by the Birdata System.
Image: Youth Eco Summit