Curtis Hayne is a young photographer and passionate birdwatcher in the Gwydir valley, home to wetlands that extend from the Northern Tablelands to the Northern Plains region of NSW. Curtis is on a mission to raise awareness of Australia’s native birds and capture their beauty.
He is an official Department of Planning and Environment volunteer, doing his bit to conserve local birdlife and encourage others to do the same. Curtis’s main role is conducting wetland bird surveys in the Gwydir Wetlands. He has gone into remote sites and waded into wetlands through knee-deep water to count nesting waterbirds. He was also a volunteer guide when the Gwydir Wetlands State Conservation Area was first opened to the public.
Along the way, Curtis has taken some stunning photographs of native birdlife
“I began birding at the age of 9 when I got in touch with another passionate local birdwatcher," he says.
"We have gone birding regularly ever since. Birds are beautiful, interesting and inspiring. They have beautiful calls and songs.
"It’s a great hobby. It gets me outdoors and it can be very challenging to identify the different species of birds. I meet lovely people along the way and my contribution is helping some of these species to survive.
"I am a contributor to the eBird and the Waterbird Tracker submitting photos, records and surveys of my sightings. These can then be used by researchers, academics and conservation biologists to answer questions about bird behaviour and distribution.
"I also assist in conducting monthly waterbird counts on irrigation storage dams with the survey data contributing to the Waterbirds on Cotton Farms project.
"My passion and encouragement of some inspiring people has ultimately given me the vision of working in science where I can have a positive impact on the community.”