Members of Friends of the Adelaide International Birds Sanctuary (FAIBS) recently contributed to the BirdLife Australia section of the lantern parade at the Oz Asia Festival. A workshop was held in September in Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary (Flyway Network Site EAAF 131) where local artists taught all-comers, including family groups, how to make paper lanterns. These were enthusiastically shaped and decorated with bird themes.
On Saturday, October 19th, thousands of people of all ages thronged into Adelaide’s brightly decorated Elder Park to enjoy the riverside Oz Asia Festival and lantern parade. In a very multicultural setting, colorful bunting and festive lights created a magical atmosphere, while enticing aromas of tasty Asian foods wafted across the lawns. Resonant, rhythmic drumming accompanying dragon dancers pulsated through the late afternoon air. As the sun dipped below an orange horizon, lantern carriers assembled in preparation for their parade through the packed audience. An unexpected shower of rain failed to daunt the spirit of spectators or paraders, and as night skies spread, booming ceremonial music and drums heralded the lantern carriers as they began their journey weaving along a pathway in and out of the excited crowds.
Red-attired FAIBS members joined the BirdLife Australia walkers in the parade, some helping to carry the huge and beautiful Moon Bird lantern portraying a giant Red Knot. Others carried their own smaller hand-made lanterns decorated with various interpretations of the habitat and birds of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. The event was spectacular, with masses of people filling the Park, as enchanted as FAIBS members were by the beauty of hundreds of glowing lanterns passing by.
BirdLife Australia and FAIBS members participated in this event as a way of raising awareness to the existence of their organisations and the work they do to promote the welfare of shorebirds and their habitat in the Adelaide region. The endangered Red Knot portrayed in their main lantern is a symbol of the amazing migratory birds that annually traverse the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, coming to the shores of the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary in their thousands every summer. Here, they busily feed up in preparation for their return journey to breed in the Tundra areas of the Northern Hemisphere before returning again to the very same Southern Hemisphere Adelaide shores they departed from earlier in the year.