Birdlife Bundaberg needs more twitchers

Birdlife Bundaberg
Sacred Kingfisher photographed by Birdlife Bundaberg member Dean Lewis at Bargara.

The Bundaberg Region is home to more than 400 species of birds and if you take the time, like Birdlife Bundaberg members do, it’s possible to see at least half of them in one weekend.

Eagle-eyed Birdlife Bundaberg member Nev Capell took part in the Trevor Quested Memorial Twitch Bird List event on 26-27 October and compiled a list of 195 bird species spotted in the area.

Nev said he had always had an interest in birds and after moving to the Bundaberg Region in 2002 he joined the Bundaberg Birdlife group.

He said the twitch, an activity of accumulating species on one list, was held each year as a tribute to valued past member Trevor Quested who was known for his passion in bird watching and conservation.

On this year’s list of almost 200 birds, Nev included sightings of everything from the common starling to a barking owl and he said surveying birds in the region was vital to their existence.

Birdlife Bundaberg
Striated Heron photographed by Birdlife Bundaberg member Dean Lewis at Baldwin Swamp Conservation Park.

“There is always somewhere to go looking for birds here in Bundaberg and if you are really lucky you may even spot one of the rare species,” he said.

“I’ve been lucky. Seven or eight years ago I was doing a survey for birds at the Port of Bundaberg when I spotted a bird and had no idea what it was!”

To Nev’s surprise it was a buff-breasted sandpiper, a bird not normally found in Australia.

“It wasn’t supposed to be here in Australia, I guess it ended up lost, and it was the first sighting of the bird in Queensland and the sixth sighting in Australia,” he said.

“I was pretty amazed and proud of that.”

Birdlife Bundaberg takes a monthly survey

Along with the annual Trevor Quested Memorial Twitch Bird List event, Nev said Birdlife Bundaberg also took part in a monthly shorebird survey and they were always looking for more help.

“We do the shorebird survey every month and it helps us to collect data and record it, which then helps us to keep the bird’s habitat safe in the long run,” Nev said.

“We find birds with banding from all over the world, which helps to know where it's been and also find out its history.”

Nev said it wasn’t just shorebirds the group focused on as he believed all song birds had originated from Australia.

“Song birds are said to have originated from Australia and there are a lot of birds that are very good at mimicking one another,” he said.

“Such as the spangled drongo (also found in the Bundaberg Region) who mimics a variety of other bird calls.”

He said people may not realise that there are almost 70 types of honey eaters found here also.

Younger members needed to help

Birdlife Bundaberg
Magpie Goose photographed by Birdlife Bundaberg member Dean Lewis at Baldwin Swamp Conservation Park.

Birdlife Bundaberg is seeking help from younger people to become involved in the group.

Nev said there was an outing on the last Sunday of each month and a major trip once a year, with the group about to head to Cape York next week.

“I am 63 years old and one of the young ones,” Nev said.

“The more people we can get involved would be great – we really need a younger injection into the group to help in the long run of conservation.

“If you have a love of birds or just like camping, as our focus is not solely on birds, but also anything within the local area you should think about joining.”