Australasian Bittern – threatened species of the week from Mt Burr Swamp

Australasian Bittern – threatened species of the week from Mt Burr Swamp

First up in our review of threatened species that will benefit from the restoration project at Mt Burr Swamp, is the Australasian Bittern.

For anyone who hasn’t heard of “Robbie the Bittern” – Robbie is the legendary wetland bird who last year put both the previously mysterious Australasian Bittern and the value of wetland restoration, literally and simultaneously, on the map!

That is because before Robbie’s transmitter failed, he’d spent the majority of his time at three restored wetlands: Pick Swamp, Long Swamp and Lake Condah. We felt particularly special because the Long Swamp Restoration Trial had only really just properly begun and Robbie ended up spending most of his time in the restored habitat there!

Robbie also opened our eyes to how connected the wetlands of south-eastern Australia truly are, bringing NGT into direct contact with Matt Herring and the Bitterns in Rice project from the NSW Riverina. As a result, we think of ourselves as “neighbours” in one big connected landscape for wetland specialist birds like Robbie!

Matt recently had the following to say when he heard about the new restoration project proposed at Mt Burr Swamp:

“This exciting project is great news for the endangered Australasian Bittern as it will see key habitat purchased and restored.”

“Through our satellite tracking of bitterns in southern New South Wales, we know that the wetlands of south-east South Australia are connected. It’s likely that these wetlands being restored by Nature Glenelg Trust are crucial drought refuges, maintaining bitterns during lean times.”

“The global population of Australasian Bitterns numbers only about 2000 birds, so it needs all the help it can get. The restoration of Mt Burr Swamp will make a significant difference to bittern conservation in Australia.”

If you’d like to hear more from Matt, then tune in on the radio at 9:30 am SA time on Wednesday the 31st August to ABC South East, as he joins Selina Green and myself in conversation to talk more about bitterns and the value of wetland restoration in the context of the proposed project at Mt Burr Swamp.

Australasian Bittern in flight - photograph by Damien Cook

The mysterious “Bunyip Bird” – the Australasian Bittern in flight.   Photograph by Damien Cook

Mark Bachmann