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Boat Harbour Shorebird Study Group, evening, October 31

31 October, 2022 , 8:00 pm 10:00 pm AEDT

If you’re keen to do something positive for the environment, please join this local group for hands on activities aiming to make a difference.

Although surveys usually take place at Boat Harbour, this night time survey will be conducted on Greenhills beach. We meet on the north end of the carpark of Don Lucas Reserve at 8:00 pm.

We visit Boat Harbour on the south side of the Kurnell Peninsula every month, counting and recording the shorebirds roosting on the reef during high tide. All the data is shared with BirdLife Australia (The Australasian Wader Study Group) and eBird, making the results available to the entire birding and avian research community worldwide. 

The reason collecting this data is important is because Boat Harbour is a significant site for shorebirds.

Boat Harbour is a listed aquatic reserve, which incorporates Merries Reef and extends east to three green ‘Water Board’ vents at Potter Point. Historically the area has hosted an extraordinary diversity and abundance of migratory shorebirds. Some of these birds are now critically endangered.

The phenomenal long distance flights migratory shorebirds take is challenge enough, but if these birds arrive at a destination and find their normal landing places are destroyed they cannot survive. This is why there are international agreements in place to protect habitat along the routes they travel.

Unfortunately shorebirds now face threats in a number of areas they live across the Shire. Over several decades at areas around Boat Harbour we’ve witnessed a gradual decline in shorebird numbers: this includes on the beaches from Wanda and Greenhills, and onto the reef itself. The reason is largely because of human disturbance.

As Sydney’s population has grown patterns of recreation have changed. The Boat Harbour area has also been subject to the impact of development, as well as poorly planned and regulated local commercial activity such as 4WDs on the beach. These impacts have been exacerbated by a poor understanding of the park boundaries and enforcement of responsibilities on the party of the relevant statutory bodies.

Ultimately we hope residents will become increasingly aware of the value of this area and the need to protect it. Ideally local and state government will step up to ensure better measures are put in place that allow all the animals which rely on this area and the aquatic reserve to survive.

This is an incredibly beautiful area, vital habitat for a range of animals, and the harbour is an aquatic reserve. Boat Harbour really does merit better conservation and management controls. Even Little Penguins still rely on this area when they come ashore to moult. That penguins still exist around here is nothing short of amazing, and it’s another good example of why the beach and aquatic reserve should be treated as one integrated zone.

People who walk dogs in this area may not realise the impacts, and the beach is still used as a 4WD carpark.

Please join us in this citizen science program designed to increase our knowledge of these birds, and engage the community in responsible stewardship of this important location.

If you are keen to find out more about the Boat Harbour shorebirds you can download this free eBook.
Boat Harbour
Kurnell, nsw 2231 Australia
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