The influx includes a newly discovered breeding colony of the nomadic and somewhat mysterious banded stilt
Monday 3 April 2017 06.57 BST Last modified on Monday 3 April 2017 08.26 BST
Tens of thousands of coastal birds have flocked to the outback after record-breaking rains filled inland lakes to their highest levels in three decades.
The influx includes a newly discovered breeding colony of the nomadic and somewhat mysterious banded stilts, on one of the lakes’ islands in the remote eastern Pilbara region of Western Australia.
Following torrential January rains, Parks and Wildlife in conjunction with the Indigenous Desert Alliance, arranged an aerial survey of the region’s wetlands, flooded rivers and lakes.
Gareth Catt, spokesman for the Alliance, said the flyover and the data collected about the lakes “filled holes” in the knowledge of the desert region’s ecology and showed the remote lakes were more valuable than previously thought.
“These ephemeral events don’t really get picked up in general surveys when they occur,” he said.
“Knowing these things are out there provides a tangible value to this environment that people don’t even know exist.
“In satellite imagery we saw they were absolutely brimming with water and that swung us into action pretty quickly,” said Catt.
“Our main hope was that we would find banded stilts, which was the main bird we did find in very large numbers, but it was a mainly a general survey which hadn’t been done before in any systematic way.”