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Rare bird and passionate twitchers provide huge economic boost

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Birdwatching can be a compulsive pastime, a never-ending quest to see more species and add to a lifetime list.

Key Points
A study reveals birdwatchers generated an economic boom when they travelled to see the rare bird in 2017
Researchers say the study highlights the potential of bird tourism, especially around rare and vagrant birds
Work is now underway to create a bird trail in the lower Hunter Valley, NSW, to encourage tourism
It drives many devoted twitchers to travel long distances in search of unusual and hard-to-spot birds.

When a rare Alaskan shorebird, the Aleutian tern, was spotted for the first time in Australia in late 2017, hundreds of people travelled to catch a glimpse of the elusive species.

The Aleutian tern breeds in Alaska and eastern Siberia and usually spends the southern summer in the North Pacific and parts of Indonesia, so its appearance on a sandbar, off the small New South Wales mid-north coastal town of Old Bar, came as a surprise.

"There was the tufted duck in Melbourne in 2019, there was a black-headed gull in the Northern Territory, there was Australia's first collared pratincole in Perth, there was the grey-headed lapwing in Burren Junction, near Wee Waa … there's been heaps," Mr Callaghan said.

It's time to work together for the future of Barwon - Roy Butler


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This week I had the honour of delivering my inaugural speech in Parliament. An opportunity to talk about my goals for the next four years.  To you the people I represent I restate my election commitments – to work hard and be honest.   
Across the electorate I have met many people who are incredibly passionate about the future of  their  community.  They  want  recognition  that  at  this  moment  in  the  history  of  NSW  the government is faced with a choice. They continue to treat the communities of western NSW in the same manner they have been or they change their focus and reinvigorate the bush.  

Investment ‘to walk out door’ over gas delays

The Australian

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Businesses have threatened to pull $2 billion of planned investmen­t from NSW as frustrations mount that delays approving Santos’s Narrabri project will cripple the viability of their operations.

Gas giant Santos issued a plea yesterday for the NSW government to outline its approval timeline for its $3bn coal-seam gas project in the Gunnedah Basin just days after the Queensland government agreed on a deadline to make a call on Adani’s long-delaye­d ­Carmichael coalmine.

Santos’s demand has been reinforced­ by industrial gas custom­ers, who have agreed to preliminary deals to buy gas from Narrabri, which could meet half the gas needs of the state.

Bellata train accident: man dead following train-ute collision

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UPDATE: A MAN has died after a Sydney-bound passenger train collided with a ute between Moree and Narrabri.

The Moree to Sydney Xplorer service was stopped less than a hour into its trip when it hit a ute at a rail crossing near Millie Road in Bellata.

At About 8.40am emergency services were called to the scene 50 kilometres north of Narrabri after the southbound XPT struck a Holden Rodeo at the crossing in Bellata.

The 64-year-old male driver of the ute died at the scene.


There were no reports of injuries on board the train, which was carrying 18 passengers and three crew.

The train was evacuated as police forensically examined the vehicles.

The passengers were put on buses from Bellata.

Passengers from Werris Creek onward were placed on buses for the rest of the journey to Sydney.

Pirates No.6 Jimmy Schwager prepares for Central North round 7 clash against Narrabri Blue Boars

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FOR Pirates number 6 Jimmy Schwager, the 2019 Central North season has been an education on and off the field.

The Year 12 Calrossy student has been a regular starter in his debut first-grade season, but has also received tutoring off the field from teachers-turned-teammates Conrad Starr and Bart Leach.

"To have those guys around, both at the club and at school, has been massive for me," Schwager told the Leader.

"I am really wanting to get the textbook stuff a number 6 does down pat and those guys have been awesome in helping me do that." 


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