Robbie has been sighted after surviving 50 km/h winds, 1.5 kms out at sea


It just keeps getting better. Yesterday, Robbie was sighted at Long Swamp by staff from Nature Glenelg Trust. This is what Lachie Farrington had to say:

“… we had a good view and for a couple of blokes who know nothing about animal tracking/transmitters etc., the small attachment on his back was pretty obvious. It was kinda weird seeing a rare bird in the middle of nowhere and being on a first name basis. A field highlight which will be hard to top – just wish I had my camera ready.”

The folks at Nature Glenelg Trust are thrilled that Robbie has been checking out their wetland restoration trials at Long Swamp. Some of the works have only just been completed over the past fortnight. They think he has very good taste in wetlands and that they might just end up being mates for life. Check out the photos of what Robbie has been seeing in the last few days here.

Mark Bachmann sums up the whole situation well:

“For two concurrent and previously unrelated conservation projects to come together like this, when one of those projects started over 500 km away in NSW, I reckon is a pretty amazing, meaningful coincidence!”

Robbie at sea

In other news, things looked grim earlier this week. Robbie was about 1.5 kilometres out at sea in bad weather. He was there for a minimum of almost three hours and then his transmitter went into its scheduled off-cycle. If he wasn’t dead already, we thought it might be inevitable. It’s common in other species for the majority of young birds to die in their first year. How would we break the news to all of his fans? Clearly surviving the ordeal, it turns out that Robbie was flying into 40-50 km/h winds, moving backwards at about 1 km/h. He managed to return to Long Swamp in time to be seen yesterday. What a relief.

Back in the Riverina and despite concerted efforts over the past week, we’ll now have to wait until next rice season to get more bitterns away with transmitters. Massive thanks to all of the rice growers in the eastern Murray Valley for helping us find some of the last few sneaks hiding out in unharvested rice, just like the one below on Monday morning. Are these stragglers the ones that stay in the region over winter or are they also about to fly far away? All will be revealed in good time, but we’re so pleased to have Robbie. Thanks to everyone who has made all of this possible.

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  1. I’ve been following Robbie since his release. Absolutely amazing. Long distance flight, no problem.

    Fighting against 40-50km/h winds coped with. Our Robbie is a true survivor.


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