Pelican chicks all grown up and congregating in Yanga National Park
"Teenage" pelicans who have flown the nest are contributing to a huge influx of birds on Yanga Lake near Balranald, according to experts from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).
Environmental water manager at OEH, James Maguire said that thousands of juvenile pelicans raised on a lake in the Nimmie Caira wetland system in the lower Murrumbidgee earlier this year are now testing their wings and dispersing to new homes in south-western NSW.
"In February and March 2017, lifesaving environmental water flows were delivered to Kieeta Lake to sustain a pelican rookery in an almost dry lake which contained around 6000 nests," said Mr Maguire.
"The environmental water flows filled the lake and surrounded the nesting bank, providing safety from predators and feeding habitat for the pelicans.
"The breeding event was successful and we are now seeing the juvenile pelicans, with adults, turning up in numerous other lakes and lagoons around Balranald," he said.
NPWS Ranger at Yanga National Park, Simone Carmichael said it's amazing to see the abundance of birdlife on Yanga Lake, and that NPWS staff are monitoring the recent influx.
"The birds are congregating in huge numbers at the moment on Yanga Lake which is only six kilometres from the town of Balranald," said Ms Carmichael.
"There are thousands of pelicans and also cormorants forming massive feeding rafts which is quite a sight.
"The best thing is the site is so accessible, and visitors to Yanga National Park can get great views of the birds from the viewing deck perched high on the peninsula at Yanga Homestead, or from the lake's edge at Regatta Beach Picnic Area.
"There's also a bird hide nestled amongst the red gums on the edge of the lake at the Homestead," she said.
Keen birdwatchers can spot the juvenile pelicans as they are slightly smaller and lighter than the adult pelicans, and their dark feathers are more brown than black.
Visitors are encouraged to contact the park office for more information on (03) 5020 1764 or visit the Yanga National Park website.
Photos for media: Pelican chicks all grown up