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It was an outstanding morning at Lake Wollumboola for the Birdlife Australia summer bird count. Many Chestnut and Grey Teal were feeding in the north east bay. Black Swans were dotted all over the lake with some on the shore scooping up fresh ground water in their bills. Also in great numbers were Crested Terns and their young resting on the sand bar, mud flats and fishing out to sea.

Lake Wollumboola is host to a diverse variety of birds at this time. They all enjoy the bounty this dynamic lake provides, some like the Bar-tailed Godwits, Red Knots and Eastern Curlew needing to stock up before their long flights to the northern hemisphere to breed.

It was also great to see the Little Terns diving for fish and hear them calling to one another.

In addition to the resident pair, several Pied Oyster Catchers have made the lake home this season and they are busy prising open small bi-valves which are plentiful in the lake waters and mud flats.

One Pied Oyster Catcher known as JZ has been a regular visitor to Lake Wollumboola this season. As a chick JZ was tagged with a yellow flag at Corner Inlet in Victoria 5 years and 4 months ago and has travelled 544km to reach the lake. It has also been observed at Gerroa and Shoalhaven Heads.

Moving along the northern shore were elegant egrets feeding and leaping into the air while hundreds of cormorants and many pelicans chased fish in a feeding frenzy. To our surprise over 30 Royal Spoonbills were at rest at the mouth of Sheepwash Creek – such a serene scene with other birds intermingled.

Nearly 40 Black-winged Stilts had their own patch of the lake busily probing the mudbank amongst the brilliant green algae in search of food.

And on top of this a close encounter off the sand bar with a cruising pod of dolphins.