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Marvel at Minjerribah's migrating shorebirds

Shorebirds, also known as waders, are a diverse group of birds commonly seen feeding in intertidal areas or on the fringes of freshwater wetlands. They generally have long legs in relation to their body size, no webbing on their feet and they do not swim. But they can certainly fly!

Shorebirds are increasingly at risk from human activity.  Sandy beaches are popular destinations for recreation, with many visitors accessing the beaches with off-road vehicles (ORVs). There is now a significant body of scientific research showing that ORVs are having major impacts on beach ecology on Minjerribah and other sandy beaches throughout South East Queensland, Australia and overseas.


Straddie shorebird spotting

For a good look at shorebirds, sit quietly at a distance and study them through binoculars or a spotting scope. Disturbance from boats, people and dogs is a problem and these sites are best viewed out of the holiday season.

Amity and Flinders Beach 

One of the best places to birdwatch is on the Amity sandbanks at the north-western end of the village. This is where the birds roost at high tide and on the exposed mudflats at low tide. Many thousands of waders and terns are sometimes present in summer. Bar-tailed godwits and Grey-tailed tattlers are usually very abundant, while whimbrels and Eastern curlews are common. From February to August, the Double-banded plover from New Zealand can be seen at Flinders Beach.

Amity is also a great place to see resident shore and water birds such as bush stone-curlews (especially at dusk in the campgrounds), red-capped plovers, crested terns, lapwings, herons, egrets, ibis, spoonbills and cormorants and, if you are lucky, the beach stone-curlew.

Point Lookout

Shorebirds like the Bar-tailed godwit are spotted making use of the beach lagoons on Cylinder and Home Beach along with lapwings, flocks of crested tern and other sea and waterbirds. Bush stone-curlews are now fairly common and can be seen at dusk on roadsides, and heard calling all over the township at night. The tracks of the beach stone-curlew have been spotted on Deadman’s and Frenchman’s Beaches with an occasional rare sighting of the bird itself.

Pairs of sooty oystercatchers are sometimes spotted on rocky beach outcrops on Frenchman’s Beach. 

Polka Point

A small high tide roost and mudflats near the One Mile Ferry jetty is always worth checking out to see which shorebirds are making use of the area. Australian pelicans are also commonly seen.

18 Mile Swamp

Somewhat hard to access, this very significant Ramsar wetland is our new National Park. The area is still under threat from nearby deep dredge mining.

TAKE Action

Protect migrating shorebirds

Every time shorebirds take flight, they burn vital energy needed for their migration back to breeding grounds. This expended energy could mean the difference between making it home or perishing on the journey.

Some things we can do to protect shorebirds while enjoying their presence in the wetlands and on the beach are:

  • Avoid driving vehicles or operating vessels and recreational devices near shorebirds. Drive 4 wheel drive vehicles only where permitted and stick close to the water’s edge to avoid crushing nests. Don’t drive along the beach at high tide or above the high-water mark—especially between September and March in the summer breeding season.
  • Keep dogs and cats under control and well away from shorebirds. Every time shorebirds are forced to take flight, they burn vital energy.
  • Report sightings of foxes and other feral animals to Redland City Council—they regularly prey on shorebirds.
  • Keep our distance from shorebirds to avoid disturbing them—from where we set up camp to keeping clear of roost sites at high tide.
  • If fishing from a sandbar, choose the opposite end to where the birds are gathered.
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