Milton Ulladulla District Birdwatchers are a quiet lot.
They have been padding around marshes, sands and forests since forming in 2009 with little fanfare, savouring the weekly joy of seeing and photographing the huge variety of local species.
Some members come along to meet others with a similar interest, others become involved in activities like the Shorebird Recovery Program and contribute to the BirdLife Australia Atlas database.
The group also travel for several longer day excursions and camps each month.
In 2014 BirdLife Australia formed a Shoalhaven branch and the two groups have reciprocal arrangements to attend each other’s outings.
Charles Dove, one of the group’s most active members, takes superb photos.
“I’m normally out every day by myself or in group,” Mr Dove said.
“The variety of birds we have in the region is a blessing, people in the area should understand that. A lot of people come down here from north of Nowra and Canberra to see them.”
Mr Dove’s passion is the importance of conservation and particularly keeping watch on rare and endangered species.
He has photographed the buff banded rail and rare Lewins rail in Lions Park at Burrill Lake, apparently unruffled by the major new bridge project. The Lewins rail is also at Lake Conjola and at Mollymook.
He also kept a close eye and lens so far this year and before Christmas on hooded plovers, notably the pair at Lake Tabourie, which laid three times but were vandalised twice before one successful hatching.
“They are clever in their response and lay less eggs as any threat goes on,” Mr Dove said.
He also observed devastation over the past summer of little terns,110 of them destroyed by foxes.
Forerunning members of the MUD Birdwatchers first got together under the auspices of the University of the Third Age (U3A), a national organisation that offers education to retirees.
Tutors are drawn from the pool of members, from whom substantial and varied expertise is available.
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