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Each month the Lake McIntyre Management Board conducts a bird count that includes all the waterbirds and the bush birds that live at, or, visit the lake and its surrounds. This provides a record of all the birds that have been observed at the lake over a period of time with other relevant information such as the water level in the lake, the season and the time of day.
Using the data collected during these counts, comparisons can be made and species arrivals at the lake can be predicted. Occasionally there are times when bird species show up completely unexpectedly, which has been the case at the lake for the last month.
Occasionally pelicans will arrive at the lake and spend a short while resting up before moving on to larger bodies of water. This month however there have been 2 pelicans visit, with 1 finding the lake and its fresh supply of food too good to pass up and has remained for over 2 weeks.
As a lot of people have noticed the swans have returned – 3 adults and an immature bird. Speculation is rife that at least 2 of the adult birds visit the lake every year. Another species of bird that has visited in larger numbers than usual is the Yellow-billed Spoonbill, with 5 being seen on more than one occasion.
There have been other unexpected arrivals and happenings over the summer that are coming to an end, such as the number of Blue-billed Ducks that have been resident over the summer, with observations of young on at least 3 separate occasions.
Other species of duck to visit the lake and stay for a bit longer than is usual are Australasian Shovelers and Pink-eared Ducks. Also visiting in very large numbers over the last month have been Freckled Duck. These ducks are protected and usually only turn up in small numbers spasmodically through the year. We have been very fortunate to see large numbers of this duck appear at the lake and stay for longer than just a day or two.
Another duck species to have surprised us with a stop-over were the Plumed Whistling Duck that visited the lake last year. All these observations, plus sightings of other rare birds such as the Australian Painted Snipe, go to show just what an important and special treasure we have in our community.
The Management Board is thrilled with all the information the public is conveying to them about the bird life they see at the lake, and would like to encourage everyone to extend their observations to suspicious behavior on the land as well. There has been more vandalism and despoiling of the toilets at the lake, which is very disappointing to not only the members of the board and all the volunteers that work tirelessly to improve and maintain the facilities, but to the members of the community who are faced with unusable amenities while visiting the lake. Please report any suspicious behavior you may see to the police, or alternatively, ring the number printed on the signs for faults and emergencies.