Rare birds found at Urunga

URUNGA locals are inordinately proud of their seaside town, and appreciation of this gem of a location is apparently shared by the rare Beach Stone-curlew.

The Beach Stone-curlew is listed as an endangered species and while it has been observed around the North Coast of Australia, it has largely disappeared, and is now rarely spotted on ocean beaches.

In fact, the Australian population may be as few as 15 breeding pairs.

The range and distribution of the species, within NSW, is thought to have contracted as a result of urban, industrial and recreational development and activities on the coastal area.

So, to have a breeding pair of the Beach Stone-curlew at Urunga, is quite a coup.

Richard Jordan, Sanctuary Australia Foundation board member and avid local bird watcher, has been taking close interest in the pair over the past few years.

Mr Jordan has watched with delight in recent weeks as there has been an addition to the Urunga Beach Stone-curlew family.

Last year an egg was observed and fortunately, despite all the hazards and disturbances, a successful hatching and survival of juvenile development has seen a three-month-old, virtually fully-grown bird emerge.

This is particularly exciting as, in the previous season, an egg did not hatch.

Mr Jordan has speculated this failure may have been a “result of disruptions from members of the public walking by with dogs, and this then prompted the Bellingen Shire Council, in conjunction with the NSW National Parks, to place warning and information signs around the breeding habitat area”.

Much to Mr Jordan’s joy, these proactive measures appear to have paid off.

The next stage is to monitor the bird and enable its movements to be tracked throughout its life. This will provide important information about the biology of this rare species.   

The research of the Urunga pair is to be overseen by Dr Greg Clancy, an ornithologist from Grafton.

He has, with permission from the National Parks and Wildlife Service, attached a small yellow 'flag' labelled C4 to one of the legs of the young bird and a numbered metal band to the other.

Now identified, members of the public are encouraged to report any sightings of the Urunga Beach Stone-curlew to either Richard Jordan at emutours@gmail.com or Mandy Wright at mandywright1@bigpond.com

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The rare Beach Stone-curlew.

The rare Beach Stone-curlew.