Coolart’s the place for counting on birds

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Pictures: Gary Sissons

IT’S National Bird Week and Parks Victoria has nominated Coolart Homestead and Wetlands Reserve near Somers as among its top 10 places to watch birds.

Run by BirdLife Australia, the Aussie Backyard Bird Count is also under way throughout the country from 22-28 October.

Bird counts can be made anywhere, but must be made over a 20-minute period.

“Australia is home to some of the world’s most beautiful birds, often literally right in our own backyards and thanks to BirdLife Australia’s Aussie Backyard Bird Count we now have four years of data about their changing populations,” Australian Birdlife Magazine editor Sean Dooley said.

“The information we collect from the bird count each year not only shows how much Australians care about birds, but also provides clues to what’s happening with different bird species.”

Counts can be made at Coolart, which Parks Victoria says is “perfect for easy walks and spotting birds”.

The Observatory, below the main homestead overlooks the wetlands and provides a comfortable viewing position for birdwatching in all weathers.

More than 125 species of birds can be spotted at Coolart, from swamp hens and white ibis (also referred to as bin chickens) to kookaburras and magpies, and many species of ducks. Crakes and rails can be seen from the wetland hides.

Parks Victoria’s manager science and management effectiveness Dr Mark Antos said there were “hundreds of interesting birds” in the state’s parks which make up 18 per cent of its land mass.

“Parks Victoria manages important areas of habitat for native animals and plants, and we know that healthy parks mean healthy plants, animals and people, and provide the best nature experiences for visitors,” Dr Antos said.

Joining Coolart in the top 10 parks are Point Cook Coastal Park; Kinglake National Park; Serendip Sanctuary; Greater Bendigo National Park; Tyers Park; Barmah National Park; Warby-Ovens National Park; Sale Common Nature Conservation Reserve; and Great Otway National Park.

To submit a bird count go to aussiebirdcount.org.au or for more information on Victoria’s parks and waterways call Parks Victoria on 13 1963 or visit www.parks.vic.gov.au.

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 23 October 2018

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