Letter: Celebrated swamp

Sir: Simon Calder (The Traveller, 4 December) described the beach at Cairns in Queensland as "a tidal mudflat that looks plain swampy."

That is why it is of prime importance to thousands of birds on migration. On holiday two years ago I drove down the east coast of Australia from Cairns to Melbourne, birdwatching on the way, and did not find any other muddy beach.

The unique resource of Cairns beach must be celebrated for attracting the greatest concentration of Asiatic shorebirds anywhere. They can find food in the mud that is not available in sand. From the promenade at Cairns it is easy to see large flocks of waders such as sharp-tailed sandpiper and Pacific golden plover, as well as larger birds including Australian pelican and royal spoonbill.


Clevedon, Somerset