A Successful South Coast Festival of Birds held in March
By Basil Schur, Green Skills 
In March 2015, Green Skills and BirdLife WA ran the fourth South Coast Festival of Birds. Local residents and visitors to the South Coast region were treated to an array of entertaining and educational community events showcasing the unique and beautiful bird fauna of the south coast of Western Australia.
With many interesting events, there was something to suit all ages and tastes. People joined in workshops focusing on the identification and conservation of local bird species, flying kites on the Albany foreshore, or participating in an informative range of bird walks, tours, talks, exhibits and exhibitions.
The Albany Town Hall hosted a stunning photographic exhibition, “Birds of Gondwana Link” showcasing entry spectacular work by local photographers especially Dick Walker, who kindly donated the photographs for fundraising purposes. This exhibition ran from Wednesday 9th to Thursday 17th March.
The Symposium was the Festival’s major event and was held at the Albany Town Hall on Friday 11th March. Following a Welcome to Country and Photographic Exhiibition opening by local Minang elder Carol Pertterson, there were keynote presentations by UWA’s Professor Steve Hopper, Simon Cherriman of Insight Ornithology, Emeritus Professor John Pate . These were followed by Bird Life’s Tegan Douglas discussing Black Cockatoo conservation and Dr Nic Dunlop of the WA Conservation Council on seabirds. It was attended by about 45 people.
Simon Cherriman of Insight Ornithology also ran two workshops on Thursday 10th of March, “Enhancing Bird Conservation Through Nest Boxes” attended by 37 people at the Denmark Wetland Centre and “Identifying and Locating WA Raptors”. The appreciative 25 participants not only visited two Osprey nest sites but were able to get close to three Ospreys, at Wilson Inlet, in Denmark. Bird Life WA’s Tegan Douglas also presented at the Wetland Centre workshop on Black Cockatoo conservation.
Bird tours highlighting special bird habitat areas included a free two hour walk around Lake Seppings in Albany on Monday 7th of March led by Anne Bondin, the BirdLife ‘s Albany branch monthly bird excursion to Morley Beach, Wilson Inlet on Tuesday 8th March and the full day Gondwana LinkBird and Eco Restoration Field Trip to Gondwana Link sites near Boxwood Hill, the Yongernow Malleefowl Centre in Ongerup and Stirling Range Retreat.
The festival also included a free bird identification workshop run by members of Birdlife Australia’s Albany branch held in nature reserves in the Albany area on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th March.Despite poor weather for some of the weekend, the workshops bravely went ahead.
The Albany Library hosted popular talks on Tuesday 8th and Thursday 10th March. BirdLife Australia local members Anne Bondin and Brad Kneebone presented on “Shorebirds- Journey to the Arctic”, and BirdLife WA’s Anne Bondin and the Department of Parks and Wildlife’s Sarah Comer presents “Threatened Birds of the South Coast Region”.
BirdLife WA’s Rod Smith conducted a range of well received school-based education activities conducted at local schools from Tuesday 8th to Friday 11th March.
Sunday 27th March saw renowned kite artists Michael and Jan Alvarez return to Albany for their fifth annual Kite Fiesta. This fun filled event is aimed at families ran at the Anzac Peace Park event with over 110 kites made during the day.
The South Coast Festival of Birds was supported by Lotterywest, BirdLife WA, City of Albany, Conservation Council of WA, Green Skills, WA Department of Parks and Wildlife, WA Museum-Albany, Albany Bird Group, Bush Heritage Australia, Gondwana Link Ltd, Yongergnow Malleefowl Centre, South Coast NRM, Friends of the Western Ground Parrot and many other groups and individuals.
For further information contact Basil Schur 98483310 or 0429481019.