Snipe make surprise appearance at St Helens

A Latham's Snipe snapped by a remote sensing camera at St Helens.

A Latham's Snipe snapped by a remote sensing camera at St Helens.

Remote sensing cameras at St Helens have picked up a surprise visitor – Latham’s Snipe waterbirds that are listed as near threatened.

The remote sensing cameras were set up at St Helens, north of Port Fairy, by the Basalt to Bay Landcare Network to monitor the population of the threatened Southern Brown Bandicoots and help determine the effect of control programs on foxes and feral cats that preyed upon the bandicoots.

Landcare network facilitator Lisette Mill said the snipe had been picked up last month by a camera set at bird height that had also snapped ducks, ravens, ibis and foxes.

She said there were at least half a dozen of the waterbirds at St Helens.

The birds are the subject of a current collaborative study between Japan and Australia to monitor their travelling route using tiny transmitters. Records of sightings of the birds as they arrive for summer vacation along the coast of Australia from Queensland to South Australia are being collected by volunteers in many states.

Mrs Mill said there were a number of locations where the birds had been recorded in the south-west – and St Helens would now be added to them.

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