On a 2019 trip to Albany, WA, we used aerial imagery from DJI drones and GIS-based analyses to survey habitat, abundance and spatial distribution of two ibis species in beautiful Lake Seppings.

The numbers of Australian White Ibis and Straw-necked Ibis at the lake have increased significantly during the last few years. Management solutions are urgently needed to reconcile birds’ conservation and community concerns. Ibises are highly adaptable birds who are able to successfully migrate and find new breeding grounds in response to pressure. Habitat loss and climatic changes have pushed many ibis populations towards coastal and urban areas, with repercussions on community acceptance and  public safety (bird strikes).

Ibises play an important ecological role in wetlands, but high numbers in Lake Seppings have caused water quality broad deterioration, eutrophication, malodour, and algal blooms. In collaboration with the City of Albany, we used geo-referenced aerial photographs captured by flying a drone over Lake Seppings at different times of the day, to collect geospatial data and provide recommendations to relevant stakeholders.