Robbie seems pleased with what’s he’s found on the South Australian coast, 557 kilometres from the rice crops of Coleambally. And he’s already connecting wetlands and people through his journey.
Of all the places Robbie could go, he’s chosen the recently restored Pick Swamp, which forms part of the internationally recognised Piccaninnie Ponds Karst Wetlands Ramsar Site. The folks in South Australia are chuffed. It’s a great endorsement of their conservation efforts, and highlights the value of the area to endangered species and the importance of a network of wetlands, even when they’re far apart. Some people have joked that South Australia and rice don’t normally go together, but Robbie isn’t privy to water politics and sees no boundaries, just one big connected landscape with different wetlands to sustain him.
He’s moving around a bit, checking out the local area. For a moment there, we were worried he’d drowned in the ocean, with some low accuracy transmissions putting him several kilometres out to sea during high winds. But all is well. We suspect he’s finding lots of tasty morsels to satisfy his hunger after such a big trip. Nearby, and back across the border into Victoria, the Nature Glenelg Trust is doing some brilliant wetland restoration work on the Long Swamp, so he may discover some good habitat there too.
These are amazing initial insights into where the rice-breeding Australasian Bittern population goes after harvest and spends the non-breeding season, particularly for young birds like Robbie that the rice yields. These Bunyip Bird secrets have only been revealed because of the generous crowdfunding for Tracking Bunyip Birds. With any luck, we’ll get another bittern away with a satellite transmitter over the coming days. Stay tuned …
Pick Swamp, South Australia: Robbie likes what he’s found next to the sea. (Photo by Mark Bachmann)