A wetlands centre at Newcastle, Australia, continues to play an important role in bird conservation.
The Hunter Wetlands Centre Australia has helped reverse a decline in Magpie Geese across the north-eastern areas of New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state.
Although black-and-white Magpie Geese are abundant in Australia’s northern regions, they became less common in the south, where habitat reduced. Keen to tackle the decline, Hunter Wetlands Centre obtained 41 Magpie Geese in 1987 – and increased the flock steadily over the next five years.
The geese at the centre bred for the first time in 1992 and new juveniles can now be seen almost every year as a clear indication of the success of the re-introduction program.
Helping threatened ducks too
The centre also works to conserve threatened Freckled Ducks.Helping save these vulnerable bird species is just one of many achievements at Hunter Wetlands Centre, which is set to celebrate three decades of operation in 2015.
Set to celebrate 30 years
In those 30 years, the centre, which is located in the Newcastle suburb of Shortland, has come from a former landfill rubbish site to an internationally recognised wetland education facility.At one stage, more than 2,200 trees were planted as the site was rehabilitated and landscaped.
Hundreds of bird species
A total of 217 bird species have been recorded at the centre.
This includes 72 typical wetland species, including 67 waterbirds and nine migratory waders.
Honking geese a hit
When we visited the centre, the colonies of Magpie Geese – with their distinctive honking call – were just one of the many fascinating attractions.
Live reptile display
The live reptile displays and interactive reptile talks went over a treat – even if we were a little tentative handling the snakes.
Hunter Wetlands Centre boasts plenty of activities, including walking trails and guided walking tours; canoe hire and guided tours; Segway tours; a bush tucker garden; bike hire; and special activities in school holidays.
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the centre and hope to return at some stage to review one or more of these innovative activities.
The wetlands centre is also rapidly gaining a reputation for its nursery, which boasts the capacity to produce over 100,000 plants a year.
How to get there
Hunter Wetlands Centre Australia is located at Newcastle, New South Wales. The centre is about 10 minutes from the heart of the city and is about two hours north of Sydney. You can get there by car train and bus.