How dare they! Tolderol Game Reserve was made years ago to provide a shooting area for game hunter’s murderous pursuit of exterminating the entire duck population of the planet…. as a consequence it also provided excellent habitat for migrating waders and many other water birds but let’s not acknowledge that. The reserve is a series of man made lagoons which are flooded with the waters from Lake Alexandrina (which is on the flood plain of the River Murray before it enters the sea). I used to go there regularly for bird watching but over the last few years the ponds were not filled; they became dry and the birds went elsewhere and so did I.
But I was back this week because the ponds have been filled again as a trial to provide foraging habitat for migratory waders.
Tolderol Reserve ponds have been filled to a level that provides both foraging and resting places for birds. Here, are part of at least 6,000 Whiskered Terns having a rest at the reserve. In the foreground were a few Curlew and Sharp-tailed Sandpipers.
As far as waders go there was only a few Curlew & Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and some Grey Teal, Pelican, Stilts and Black Swans but mostly there were around 6,000 Whiskered Terns and 60 or so Caspian. It’s good to see the birds back. I’ve never seen so many Whiskered Terns in one spot.
The beautiful Whiskered Tern in flight... incredibly clean lines and aerodynamics. Almost perfect streamlining, wing shape, body and tail. It's little wonder we go bird watching!
Next door, in country terms is the nearby Boggy Lake, also filled by Lake Alexandrina and it had large numbers of Great Cormorant, Black Swans, Pelican, Australian Shelduck and Cape Barren Geese. All good!
Boggy Lake (with Lake Alexandrina in the background) is a maze of waterways and islands, Here just part of the masses of Great Cormorant, Australian Pelican, Shelduck and Black Swan, Cape Barren Geese and other water birds that regularly rest beside the many lagoons before foraging on the lake itself.
Tolderol Reserve provides for bird watchers and hunters. Presumably the hunters desire to wipe all living creatures off the face of the earth by painful bloody extermination seems to be compatible with some bird watchers. They may even be in harmony, or at least if not harmony respecting each other’s interests. This off course is blasphemy to some.
What we need are duck stamps and I wasn’t thinking of Donald! Because, in many parts of the world hunting and conservation go hand in hand. The Federal Duck Stamp, formally known as the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, is an adhesive stamp required by the United States federal government to hunt migratory waterfowl such as ducks and geese and has been in use since 1934. It is also used to gain entrance to Wildlife refuges. Duck Stamps are sought after by collectors and are a means to raise funds for wetland conservation, with 98% of the proceeds of each sale going to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund.
A few of the many Cape Barren Geese that are common in the lower Murray river area.
There is also a Federal Junior Duck Stamp which provides funding for visual arts and scientific and wildlife management principles to children from Kindergarten to High School. There are competitions for the design of both the Federal and Junior stamps. Through the art children and hunters learn about conservation as well as being able to identify the ducks… stupid idea!
The first Federal Duck Stamp, 1934. Mallard. Duck Stamps have been providing funding for conservation since then and recognise that there can be compatibility between hunters and birdo's. (Wikipedia images)
Its about time hunters and bird watchers learnt to get along with one another for the benefit of both by education and funding. Rather that than being under the influence of idealogical dreamers who see any form of killing of any animals by humans as an anathema. The problem of those who put themselves above the rest of us, in an irrational pursuit of misplaced objectives and demand that everybody else acquiesces to their views, is that they are usually spectacularly in the wrong and provide more damage to their causes than benefits as well as collateral damage to everyone else affected by their activities… but that’s just un-politically-correct me again…
Anyway I’m told that Australian National Parks Duck Stamps issued by the NT government to enter Kakadu and other National Parks and fund research into wetlands and waterfowl habitats, so maybe not all is lost.