- Friday 05 July 2013
Each year the Sunshine Coast plays host to some very special tourists of the non-human variety.
From September to April the region provides an important habitat for shorebirds that gather in large numbers within the intertidal areas of the Noosa and Maroochy Rivers and the Pumicestone Passage.
Environment Portfolio Councillor Tony Wellington said it was important that shorebirds were not disturbed during their annual Sunshine Coast stopover.
“Up to 43 species of shorebirds have been recorded in our region and around two thirds of those are migratory,” he said.
“Some of these migratory species fly for many days without rest or food. They may travel tens of thousands of kilometres from China, Korea and Japan to reach our shores. Inevitably they arrive exhausted. They then spend September to April resting and feeding at local beaches and estuaries.
“During this time they must have space, food as well as protection from predators and other disturbances. They need to recuperate from their long flights and prepare for the next stage of their journey.”
Cr Wellington said locals had an important role to play in ensuring shorebirds received the rest they needed.
“People should observe these birds quietly from a distance, avoid driving on foredunes near shorebird nest sites and keep dogs away from sandbanks,” he said.
“Several of these shorebird species are protected under international agreements.
“Council officers will soon be handing out stickers designed to educate the community about the protection required for these distant visitors to our coast.
“Queensland Parks and Wildlife Rangers will also hand out these educational stickers while issuing warnings.”
“We hope to see the stickers placed on vehicles and boats and for shorebird protection to become an accepted and important practise for outdoor enthusiasts.”
On the Noosa North Shore an exclusion zone has been put in place to protect shorebird habitat. This area of beach is closed to 4WDs, dogs and horses. On-the-spot fines may be incurred for entering this area.
At the Noosa Spit a free for use public telescope has been provided by the Noosa Integrated Catchment Association so people can enjoy up-close observations of these remarkable species and help protect their habitat.