The comprehensive RAOU waterbird survey 1981-1985 (Jaensch et al. 1988) included data from Lake McLarty, Western Australia. Since then, the ecology of the lake and its utilization by waders has changed drastically. We present the results of an extensive study of the waders of Lake McLarty conducted from 1996 to 2000. We link the results of the original RAOU survey to the present findings, how the patterns of wader use have changed since the early 1980s. Historical and current information show that an extraordinary number and variety of waders visit this ephemeral lake during the summer months. No less than 36 species of wader have been recorded. Several species occur in sufficient numbers to make this lake a site of national and international significance according to the Ramsar Convention criteria. We show the seasonal and annual fluctuations in key wader populations at the lake and how these change with water levels. Lake McLarty is still a relative pristine wetland and concerns are expressed about the impact nearby development may have on the wader populations. This study provides updated count data that can be used as a reference source to assist in the preservation of Lake McLarty.
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|Published - 2001