The Birds of Towra Point

On Sunday seven paddlers set out to explore Towra Point Nature Reserve and welcome the flocks of arriving birds from Russia.  Departing from the Bonna Point boat ramp, Nell, Dave, Michael, Dee, Angela, Allen and Andy took advantage of the high tide to paddle deep into the wetland.  The search for birds was delayed as all the action was happening below. Crystal clear water provided the perfect view of stingrays and the flipper rays swimming in the shallows.  Eventually we got around to the birds with the usual collection of domestic birds including Dusky Oystercatchers, White Faced Herons, Black and Little Pied Cormorants, Pelicans etc etc..  Finally we heard the call of ker-loo and saw a flightly flock of Eastern Curlews.  Something about them seemed sad.  Maybe it was the knowledge from last week’s Shorebird conference that the numbers of the Eastern Curlew have collapsed by 75% somewhere enroute from Siberia.  As we floated among the mangroves with our binoculars and cameras, consideration was given to whether the collapse was really caused by the building of the longest sea wall on the South Korean tidal flats at Saemanguem, or maybe huge flocks of Eastern Curlews are being hostage with Kim Jong-un in a barn somewhere in North Korea, or maybe Operation Sovereign Borders  had detained them all on Manus Island.  As we paddling around Weeney Bay, the birdlife dwindled but interest was maintained by the remains of oyster farms and hillbilly camps.  Our final departure from the bay was monitored by a sea eagle looking for its lunch.   Quickly the group broke into ornithological debate about the differences between sea eagles and ospreys, yes definitely an eagle, even at a distance.  Nothing left to do but a quick sprint across Quibray Bay, get off the water and head back to the club house.  Except for Michael in his green hornet, who turned around and headed back up to the Georges River.