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Contact Call | Volume 10 Number 3 | September 2021

BirdLife Northern Queensland’s regular Cassowary Coast monthly outing is held at Warrina Lakes, a parkland and botanical garden in a central site in Innisfail. It has a good diversity of birds – common garden birds in the open areas, water birds on the lakes, forest birds in areas of lowland rainforest, and some low-lying wetland and reedy areas where we sometimes see a White-browed Crake as well as other birds using the shallow water. These reedy areas tend to dry out between wet seasons.

We were delighted to hear that a local school, Flying Fish Point State School, had obtained Reef Guardian funding which was to be used at Warrina Lakes. Their original plan was to build a wetland in a low area of their school grounds, but during planning it emerged that this was not feasible. The funding was therefore redirected to the public space at Warrina Lakes. As the funding was originally for a wetland, this theme was pursued in the new plan, focused on one of the reedy areas.

Support was given by local volunteer groups – Johnstone River Catchment Management Association (JRMCA) and Johnstone Region Landcare Group. JRCMA attended to installation of a pipe which will allow water to be pumped in to keep the water level in the reed bed constant throughout the year. A team of Landcare workers removed weed species from the area, leaving the reeds which were growing well.

Once the site was ready, the school children spent a morning at the site planting suitable edging species – Lomandra, rushes, cordylines, paperbark trees and a fig.

A Landcare representative talked to the children about the value of reeds along watercourses to reduce nutrient and pesticide run-off into the rivers and thus on to the reef, as well as to provide habitat for wildlife.

A Birdlife member told the children of our monthly outings at Warrina Lakes and about some of the birds which are likely to use the revamped wetland.

As we normally do a survey on each monthly outing, we will be able to update the school from time to time as to what birds we are seeing in and around their wetland, and throughout the park. We hope this will help to keep the children interested in how their project is progressing, and particularly in the birdlife benefiting from it.


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