Migratory shorebirds and the Redlands

In our summer months an estimated 50,000 birds fly thousands of kilometres each year from the northern hemisphere to visit wetlands in and around the Redlands. More than 43 species of shore bird use the area including more than 30 species of migratory wading birds.

Eastern Curlew
Eastern Curlew

The largest migratory shorebird seen in the inter-tidal parts of Moreton Bay is the Eastern Curlew, easily distinguished by its long curved bill. The Eastern Curlew’s conservation status is vulnerable with major threats being loss of habitat when development takes place in or near wetlands.

At low tide, shorebirds wander over exposed sandbanks, seagrass beds and mudflats to feed. When these areas are covered by the rising tide the birds move to roosting areas like Oyster Point in Cleveland and Ormiston’s Empire Point Bird Roost.

One of the most prolific shorebird species to visit the Redlands is the Bar-tailed Godwit. These birds can often be seen in large numbers at popular roosting areas.

Bar-tailed Godwits feeding near G.J. Walter Park, Cleveland
Bar-tailed Godwits feeding near G.J. Walter Park, Cleveland

Bird watching is a rapidly growing niche in the global eco-tourism market. Wildlife Tourism Australia and the Wildlife Research Network actively promote wildlife based eco-tourism.

With its rich and viewable wetland habitats there is plenty of scope for Redland City to attract increased numbers of tourists interested in viewing shorebirds from vantage points which include the unspoilt coastline between Cleveland Point and Victoria Point.

During our winter months when the migratory birds are in the northern hemisphere, we still have plenty of other shorebirds to look at including herons, terns, pelicans and egrets.

A good source of information about Birdlife in the Redlands is Birds, Bugs ‘n’ other Critters

Moreton Bay Ramsar site Click to enlarge
Moreton Bay Ramsar site
Click on map to enlarge

The migratory shore bird habitats in and around Redland City are internationally significant and subject to legal protection as matters of national environmental significance. Most of southern Moreton Bay is in the Moreton Bay Ramsar site.

Australia has also entered into bilateral agreements with China, Korea and Japan to protect migratory birds along the “flyway” which links East Asia to Australasia: one of the world’s eight major migratory bird flyways.

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