I must confess to a spot of laziness this month. With plenty of time available, and much sunnier weather than we’ve had in months, I had many opportunities to head out for a field visit during October, but I left off doing so until the final weekend (I did get a lot of washing and some yard work done, though, so I’m counting it as a productive month from a non-blogging perspective).
My tardiness was then capped off by a spot of not thinking things through properly, and I decided to head to Leeton’s Fivebough Swamp for this month’s trip. I managed to forget the part where this has been a high-rainfall year, and although Fivebough is now actively managed, it has for millennia been a drainage depression below a line of hills – aka a place that catches water in high-rainfall years (I don’t know, I was distracted, the brain cells just did not connect).
Currently, the main entrance to Fivebough looks like this:
Given the complete and utter lack of passable (or even visible) pathways I was rather confined to this front section, near the picnic area. I did entertain some hopes of following the access road around to the ponds birdhide, but it was overgrown to the point where I couldn’t see any evidence that a road had ever existed just there, which was a bit of a disconcerting experience.
However, in this one small area, in a year that does not lack for wetland habitat for birds across the state and beyond, there were still quite a few species of waterbirds represented.
Like this White-faced heron (Egretta novaehollandiae)
Several Black Swans (Cygnus atratus) – and assorted ducks
While I watched, four large birds I at first thought might be swans came winging in:
Once they’d landed I realised they were in fact Magpie Geese (Anseranas semipalmata).
I saw some Magpie Geese at Fivebough in January, and have occasionally seen them at other locations, and they remain one of my favourite birds to see, so I was pretty happy that these four showed up while I was there.
Not long after the Magpie Geese, a flight of White Ibises flew past, although they didn’t land nearby.
There were also quite a few invertebrates present. I’m not sure if these were all mosquitoes or something else entirely (or maybe a mix of both), but I didn’t want to disturb them and potentially find out.
In the shallow water I also saw several bright red, thread-like invertebrates (worms perhaps? Larvae of something?) wriggling and dancing about before disappearing suddenly. I have no idea what they were, and they were hard to photograph, but I’ve managed to point some out in the photos below, and you can see them if you enlarge (click on) the photos. If anyone reading can shed some light on their identity I’d be interested to know.
On the way out, while crossing the bridge over one of the irrigation channels that criss-cross Leeton I noticed a lot of tadpoles in the water – or possibly small fish, but from the shape of them I’m pretty sure they were tadpoles. Getting a good photograph was difficult, but here’s my best one:
I also swung around to the Hooey Road lookout behind Fivebough, and saw a fair few swans with half-grown cygnets, but I need to upgrade my camera equipment before I can hope to get any sort of decent photos from that lookout – the birds are always much too far away for my current cameras.
See you in November! (Also, wow, it’s only two months to the end of the year again, yikes)
PS. In case you missed it: I got a couple of nice photos of a male Superb Fairy-wren at Deniliquin earlier this month.