August through to January is that time of the year at Byron’s Belongil Estuary the beautiful pied oystercatchers, and other shorebirds, begin nesting.
National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) ranger Nigel Stewart said in the last two years these threatened birds have laid eggs but have been unsuccessful in raising their chicks.
‘They face many threats including dogs, cats, foxes, snakes, birds of prey, high tides, goannas and human activities around their nesting area’, Nigel said.
‘The Pied Oystercatcher is a vulnerable species, with about 250 individuals in NSW; the breeding pairs at Belongil are very significant for the survival of the species,’ he said.
‘To help save the Pied Oystercatchers and other shorebirds at Belongil the Byron Bird Buddies, a volunteer group who work with NPWS, Marine Parks and Byron Shire Council, have created the Belongil Estuary Seabird and Shorebird Management Plan to look after the Belongil Estuary and its inhabitants.
‘As a priority action from the plan we will be increasing dog patrols during the breeding season and will also have volunteers monitoring/educating at the site.
‘We would like to thank all the local dog owners for using the designated dog-exercise zones and we want to remind people to observe the no-dog zones; please understand that this is for a reason.
‘The Belongil Estuary is a very diverse place that is important for the Pied Oystercatcher, Little Tern, Osprey, Great Knot, Red-capped Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Lesser Sand Plover, and recently Byron Bird Buddies identified an endangered Beach Stone Curlew just to name a few.
‘Everyone has their place in the shire, people, wildlife and people with pets; it’s important that we share our areas and leave some places for nature.’
If you would like to be a part of the Byron Bird Buddies and National Parks volunteer group to help protect our local habitats please call NPWS Ranger Nigel Stewart on 6620 9300.
‘Together we can make a difference,’ said Nigel.
Image: Pied Oystercatchers preparing to nest at Belongil Beach. In the last two years these birds have been unsuccessful in raising chicks. Without our help they face extinction. Photo Office of Environment & Heritage