December 2019 Shorebird Count for the Peel-Yalgorup System (PYS)

Presented at KRMB Meeting – 21 Sept 2020

The speaker for the September meeting was Colin Prickett who delivered a presentation on the results of the December 2019 Shorebird Count for the Peel-Yalgorup System (PYS) which forms Ramsar Site 482. The presentation was kindly provided by Sharon Meredith of the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council.

The Shorebird Count has been performed annually for over a decade as part of Birdlife Australia’s Shorebird 2020 program, with 2020 being the target date to complete the program. The count has been such a success that it will now continue indefinitely as the National Shorebird Monitoring Program. The count is a huge collaborative effort, coordinated by PHCC in consultation with Birdlife Peel Branch, and Birdlife WA. This is the 12th year that these groups have worked together to coordinate the count in the Peel Region.

Over 60 volunteers conducted counts across 29 areas within 16 main sites of the PYS. Volunteers included local residents, residents from Perth, volunteers from Mandurah Bird Observers, DBCA, PHCC, Birdlife, Murdoch University, Mandurah Cruises, O.T.S Services and Myalup Bird Observers. Teams counting around the Peel Inlet and Harvey Estuary, the freshwater wetlands of Lake McLarty and Lake Mealup, the Yalgorup National Park (including Lake Preston and Lake Clifton), and Georgup and Black Lake.

The purpose of the program is to monitor the threats to shorebirds and provide evidence that their decline is growing, whilst identifying factors driving their decline. The program:

  • assists in monitoring and assessing the status of the Ecological Character of the PYS against limits of Acceptable Change (LAC);
  • provides data for decision makers: provides valuable data to other organisations, educational institutions and groups on the distribution, numbers and species of migratory and resident shorebirds; and
  • provides data to assist in quantifying the Ramsar status of the PYS. Ramsar criteria that pertain to shorebirds include:
    • Criterion 5: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it regularly supports 20,000 or more waterbirds; and
    • Criterion 6: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of waterbird.

The results for the count totalled 55,461 birds, the 5th highest total since 2008 when the counts began. This means that Ramsar Criterion 5 is satisfied (>20,000 birds). The number of species included in that count was 67, the second highest number of species. As part of the PYS Management Plan there is a Monitoring & Evaluation Objective: To undertake counts of Red-necked Stints and Sharp-tailed Sandpipers annually at strategic locations across the PYS. This helps to substantiate whether the PYS supports more than 1% of the Flyway populations in 3 out of 5 years. The results for the most recent count were: Red necked stint counted 7230 (1% threshold- 3200) and Sharp-tailed Sandpiper 4416 (1% threshold- 1660). Consequently, Ramsar Criterion 6 is also met.

Banded Stilt2061
Grey Teal11,087
Common Greenshank174
Fairy Tern248
Eastern Curlew 5
Other notable statistics
SiteTotal counted
Lake McLarty 11,245
South Harvey Estuary9109
Lake Preston – East6558
Lake Preston – West 6425
Coodanup to Nairns3453
The top sites

Several members of KRMB took part in the count.

Colin Prickett