Birds put on the map
By SALLY GORDON
A NEW glovebox-sized brochure to help avid bird watchers locate some of the Clarence Valley's natural treasures has been published.
Released by bird-watching group Clarence Valley Birdos and Clarence River Tourism, Bird Routes of the Clarence Valley is a comprehensive location guide for local bird species.
The brochure contains a large colour map, comprehensive details of 10 different bird routes and a species list.
Clarence Valley Council mayor Ian Tiley officially launched the publication at Cowan's Pond, near Grafton, on Saturday. Around 55 bird enthusiasts attended the launch.
Russ Watts, the first person to put a bird routes brochure together in Australia, also made the trip from Tamworth to mark the weekend launch.
Birdos member Gary Whale said the Valley was one of the richest areas for viewing bird species in Australia, with more than one-third of the country's 750 birds calling the Clarence Valley home.
The Clarence Valley is also home to the only coastal population of emus in New South Wales.
Routes in the brochure cover areas including Grafton, Lawrence, Iluka, Ashby, Woodford Island and Yuraygir National Park.
Jenny Massie from Clarence River Tourism said bird-watching had become a lucrative niche market and popular tourist activity.
"Bird watching is big business in the United States," she said.
"There are reports coming out that say bird watching is the fastest growing recreational past-time in terms of people participating in bird watching activities." Ms Massie said the trend was great news for local tourism, as the Valley boasted an impressive list of different species.