Rare birds sighted at Fingal Head

Beach stone curlews are listed as critically endangered by the New South Wales Government.
Beach stone curlews are listed as critically endangered by the New South Wales Government.

TWO extremely rare birds were spotted at Fingal Head's Letitia Spit on Thursday.

Local bird watchers were excited to spot the beach stone curlews (esacus neglectus) which are listed as critically endangered by the New South Wales Government.

National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger Lori Cameron said the Threatened Species Conservation Act aimed to protect the curlew's existence.

"Currently there are only 28 individuals estimated to reside in NSW," Ms Cameron said.

"Beach stone curlews usually live at estuary mouths or on ocean beaches, foraging for crabs and other prey when tides are suitable.

"They are a large, heavy-set wader, with a body length of up to 56cm, a wing span of up to 1.1m, and a massive bill.

"When they nest, one well-camouflaged egg is laid in a shallow scrape in the sand, just above the high tide mark.

"Threats include predation by dogs and cats, disturbance and habitat loss.

"They are a very shy bird and will desert their nests or territories if disturbed by people or dogs."

Fingal Head Community Association president Dawn Walker said work by the Tweed Byron Local Aboriginal Land Council, Fingal Head Coastcare and her group to stop illegal 4WD access to Letitia Spit was "paying off" in regard to protection of local species.

"Migratory birds and other endangered species are seeking refuge in Fingal Head to rest, breed and tend to their young families," Ms Walker said.

Report sightings of the beach stone curlew to 02 6670 8600.

Topics:  birds endangered species fingal head

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