Migrating visitors' epic intercontinental flight
IT'S A long way to fly for an Australian summer holiday, but for the eastern curlew it's a better alternative to the minus-zero-degrees freeze of the Siberian winter.
Gladstone will see the familiar wildlife voyager make its home here in the region after completing its 13,000km migratory trek.
Birdlife Capricornia secretary Allan Briggs said the eastern curlew made an extraordinary trip to come here for rest and recovery after breeding and nesting in Siberia.
"The bird leaves the Arctic Circle, travels through China and the Korean peninsula, down Asia, across the Pacific and to the Australian east coast," Mr Briggs said.
"The breeding grounds freeze over in Siberia and the birds path is the East Asian-Australasian Flyway to come to Australia for a feed and recover."
The eastern curlew is the largest of migratory shore birds, standing about 400mm with long legs and huge bill to probe the mud for food.
Despite making this perilous epic quest, the greatest threat for the birds coming home is the lack of one.
"There has been a decline in numbers of 80 per cent over the last three decades due to property development of feeding areas and dogs not kept on a leash are affecting their numbers," Mr Briggs said.
"There is a loss of coastal habitat for the birds to feed, it's hurting them and the whole of the Capricorn Coast has significance to their numbers."