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The start of Spring signals new beginnings and every year Hunter Bird Observers Club are hopeful their Welcome to Shorebirds promotion will bring with it a renewed hope for the future of shorebird’s in the Hunter Region.

Around 40 people attended the annual event at Stockton sandspit hosted by Conservation Volunteers Australia, including National Parks, Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group and community members. The event aims to highlight the risk to the critically endangered Eastern Curlew and Curlew Sandpiper and the effort being taken to conserve these species.

The Curlew also attended in great numbers with around 104 of them present to be counted. These figures were then uploaded to a national database to help manage and hopefully track an increase in numbers.

Hunter estuaries are hot spots for the shorebirds, with their home’s being tidal wetlands around the Port of Newcastle.

The decline of the shorebirds is mainly due to the vanishing ecological community, coastal saltmarsh, which reduces feeding areas available for these birds. This has seen them listed as critically endangered due to their fast rate of decline, with a 40% loss over the last 4 years.

NCIG are working side by side with local groups to restore migratory shorebird habitat. Over 24 hectres on Ash Island in the Hunter Wetlands National Park have been restored, with critically endangered Curlew Sandpiper and Whimbrel seen within two weeks of the construction of the new habitat.

This work in restoring wetland habitat on Ash Island was the first of its type and scale conducted in Australia, and perhaps the Southern Hemisphere, which saw NCIG named as one of a select number of recipients from around the world in the 2018 PIANC Working with Nature Awards.

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