A good variety of waders were present on the Cairns Esplanade on Saturday 26 March when more than 40 birders gathered to 'wave them goodbye'. Many birds were were developed into breeding plumage which generally made identification easier. Also assisting in the identification process was the large number of telescopes present and the quality of identification materials available. Along with the wonderful booklet from Shorebirds 2020 there were locally produced informations sheets. The weather was kind with just one light sprinkle and enough breeze to keep the observers cool. The sun even shone briefly and a few of us older ones could remember what it was!
It was great to see a mix of ages. Three under twelves right through to a number past middle age. The only age group missing was the teens to early twenties.
A single Red Knot standing with the Great Knot tested people's ability to find the different bird as the Great Knots were in a wide range of plumages. Terek Sandpipers occasionally stood still long enough to get the scopes on them and the Red-necked Stints remained active throughout. It amazed passers by that these little birds could fly such huge distance. Our presence there enabled a few of us to talk to others about the conservation issues facing our migratory shorebirds. A number of these members of the public took membership forms and information leaflets.
Report by Alan Gillanders; photos by Greg Bortolussi