UK wader conservation group targets Cairns
News of the rapid decline of the Cairns Esplanade as a prime shorebird-watching location is spreading.
Wader Quest, a respected UK-based charity promoting international shorebird conservation, is the latest organisation to highlight the plight of this once outstanding Australian wader viewing location.
It its April newsletter, Mandy Soymonoff, a Cairns-based researcher and former warden of the Broome Bird Observatory in WA, raises doubts about the Esplanade’s ability to support even much-reduced wader populations.
In the spotlight is the Cairns Regional Council’s attempts to create a sandy beach over mudflats.
Blanket of sand
“The result is a blanket of sand … Mudskippers are no longer common and my favourite wader observation sites no longer throng with probing and pecking bills … While the waders are roosting on the sand bar at high tide, it is now solid enough for people and dogs to walk out to and disturb the resting flocks.” Soymonoff writes.
“Will the Cairns Esplanade cease to be an amazing place to watch waders or will the combined efforts of local council, state government agencies and environmental groups come up with a plan to ensure the waders are accommodated? This will be a pivotal year in securing their future as a Cairns icon.”
Mandy Soymonoff’s article is on pages 24-25 of the Wader Quest newsletter