New signs have been installed at five locations from the popular publication Birding Guide to the Cessnock Woodlands.
The signs expand on the brief information given in the guide, which was launched in March 2021 by the Hunter Bird Observers Club in partnership with BirdLife Australia and Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council.
The signs have been installed at Poppet Head Park at Kitchener, Mulbring Park, Log of Knowledge Park at Kurri Kurri, Hunter Distillery at Pokolbin and the Old Brush Studio at Brunkerville.
The signs also depict maps for each site, historical information, photographs of some of the birds that might be found, as well as illustrations of key bird species by award-winning local wildlife illustrator, Rachel Klyve.
All the sites in the guide are situated on Wonnarua Country, and future signs will feature information about the sites' Aboriginal cultural significance.
Hunter Bird Observers Club vice-president and BirdLife Australia woodland bird program manager Mick Roderick said that the Cessnock area is the logical "go-to" place for birdwatching tourism in NSW.
Mr Roderick said the sign installation is another step forward in putting Cessnock on the map for a distinct tourist market, as well as providing detailed information for locals.
"These signs complement the comprehensive Birding Guide and will be seen by many people, including birdwatchers from outside of the area, bushwalkers and residents of the Cessnock community," he said.
"With a broad range of information depicted on them, they are a great resource."
Local and visiting birdwatchers have been appreciating the diversity of the Cessnock Woodlands for decades, but the combination of the new signs and the guide opens the area up to all types of nature-lovers, detailing the key places to enjoy the remarkable diversity of birds and other wildlife in the Cessnock area.
Several sites provide vital habitat for the critically endangered Swift Parrot and Regent Honeyeater, as well as being home to many other threatened birds, plants and animals.
BirdLife Australia's woodland bird project officer Kristy Peters said birdwatching is one of the most convenient and accessible forms of wildlife watching, as birds are amongst us - all you need is a set of binoculars and a field guide or App to help with identification.
"Here we have some of the most significant and accessible woodlands for a range of birds not much more than an hour and a half from Sydney," Ms Peters said.
"Cessnock is also blessed with tourism infrastructure and an airport. International birdwatchers pay good money to see a diverse range of birds, including rare ones, and this is exactly what Cessnock has.
"These signs will add another layer of information that we are building over time, so that Cessnock will be well-known for its birdwatching and ease of information to help people find our amazing local birds."
The signs were made possible through the generous support of Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG), Mindaribba LALC, Cessnock City Council, NSW NPWS and the Hunter Local Land Services and the NSW Government's Saving our Species program through the NSW Environmental Trust.
Hard copies of the Birding Guide are available at the Hunter Valley Visitor Information Centre and Kurri Kurri Visitor Information Centre and as a PDF link from www.hboc.org.au.
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