A straw-necked ibis nests at Lawrence.
A straw-necked ibis nests at Lawrence.

Bird watchers? utopia



Breeding birds rare to the Clarence Valley have taken to waterways topped up by rain.

Clarence ecologist Greg Clancy said yesterday the threatened magpie goose, the straw-necked ibis and the yellow-billed spoonbill had bred or were breeding in the Clarence Valley.

"A small group of adult magpie geese at Eric and Margaret Wheeler's dam at Jacana Homestead, Clarenza, were behaving strangely," he said. "Eric suspected nesting but it wasn't until well-known Central Coast birder Alan Morris visited the homestead that his suspicions were realised. Alan spotted nine small goslings with the three adults.

"This is the first confirmed breeding record in the Clarence Valley since the early part of the 20th century, about 100 years ago.

"We are fairly certain that they bred in 2004 in the Coldstream wetlands, near Tucabia, but as no nests or small goslings were observed, the 70 or so juveniles that turned up at Waterview Heights could have flown in from further north. There is strong circumstantial evidence, however, that they did indeed nest locally in 2004," Mr Clancy said.

"A visit to the egret breeding colony at Lawrence by Eric and Alan had turned up some more interesting breeding activity. A group of 40 or so straw-necked ibis were nesting on the roots and fallen branches of the paperbark trees. A yellow-billed spoonbill was also seen to deliver a stick to a nest in a paper- bark."



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