In those days, you could always see them at low tide foraging in the intertidal flats around Deception Bay, Scarborough and Hays Inlet. Every year these amazing birds make a round trip from Siberia and Norther Alaska to Moreton Bay. In recent times, their numbers have dropped dramatically and they are now listed as critically endangered.
Around September each year they return to Australia from their breeding grounds to spend the summer months in the bays and estuaries of our coastline. At the start of each spring, I visit the flats to see if any of them survived and returned to Moreton Bay. Last week, early in the morning I took my camera and binoculars to the flats of Scarborough and was I lucky enough to spot and photograph one of these precious birds.
Their future is worrying and complex, as they rely on feeding grounds in Southern Asia in order to refuel at the half-way stop through their long journey. Many of these areas have been subject to development and the loss of feeding grounds has had an impact on their survival. Here in Moreton Bay we have also created issues through our own development activities. These activities have reduced the availability and quality of the habitat required for the survival of our international visitors.
Over the next few months, I will continue to walk the flats around Moreton Bay and I hope to see and hear more of these amazing birds feeding on our shorelines. In my eyes, they are a gift to us, and I hope there will always be the opportunity to see these birds and hear their emotional calls. And when they depart for their Northern trek, I will wait for the next spring and hopefully see them return safely. One of the jewels of Moreton Bay.