We’re on the map for birds who want to just duck in
OVER the past 15 years or so, Tropical North Queensland has enjoyed an intriguing influx of new international visitors.
Increasing numbers of Papua New Guineans are seasonally visiting our shores to enjoy cooler climes.
Not only is the level of visitation increasing but influx is moving ever further southward.
Anti-immigration sentiment though is not warranted as on this occasion the migrant is a pretty little duck.
Originally from Papua New Guinea, Spotted Whistlingducks are delicately spotted and engendered with a distinctive whistle call.
They have slowly been colonising North Queensland. First they were only seen around Weipa.
Then they were also observed in the wilds of the Lakefield area.
A few years later their most southerly limit was Cooktown. More recently they have found the delights of Cairns.
Cattana Wetlands is a favourite, as is Centenary Lakes. So far the southern limit of their travels is Lucinda.
Visitation seems to be highly seasonal with a preference for the summer Wet Season. Their future range is debatable, as is whether they will eventually become permanent residents.
Spotted Whistling-ducks were first observed enjoying the pleasures of the Daintree five years ago.
Now they seem to have been enchanted by its romantic spell.
In late April a family with five mature ducklings was seen on the Daintree River.
In the following days, local breeding was confirmed with another family, including eight tiny ducklings, found on the wetlands of Daintree Village property ‘Wild Wings and Swampy Things Nature Refuge’.
This event is significant as it is the most southerly breeding record for this species in Australia.
It must be particularly pleasing for the owners, Barbara Maslen and Allen Sheather, after spending an immense amount of effort revegetating their property.
Spotted Whistling Duck family in the Daintree