I wasn’t going to do another wetland for a few months, because I feel like I do wetlands a lot, but a friend of mine told me that Fivebough Swamp was spectacular at the moment, so I decided that was too good to pass up, and off to Leeton I went. As coincidence would have it, I ran into the same friend and her sister while I was there, and we spent a while wandering along together before parting ways.
Welcome to 2017!
My year got off to an exciting start when I was contacted by someone from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) asking me if I’d like to visit one of their environmental watering project sites with some field officers doing a wetlands health survey. Naturally I said yes, and so last Tuesday I headed to Yarradda lagoon (within the Yarrada precinct of the Murrumbidgee Valley National Park) near Darlington Point with four field officers: two from OEH and two from Charles Sturt University (CSU).
I was at a loss as to where to visit for my final field trip of 2016, when a friend on Twitter unwittingly provided inspiration:
So off to Griffith I went to visit Campbell’s Swamp.
It was quite windy, so we weren’t sure if we’d see many birds, but we were delighted to find several families of ducks, swans and swamphens, including fuzzy babies of assorted species.
This weekend my parents invited me to visit Canberra with them. After a look around the National Museum of Australia, we headed out to a night tour at Mulligans Flat.
Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary is an area of remnant Box Gum Grassy Woodland that is being managed to conserve and restore the entire ecological community at all levels. Non-native predators are actively excluded, rabbits are gradually being eradicated from within the reserve, and several locally-extinct native species have been reintroduced over the past few years, including Eastern Bettongs, Eastern Quolls, New Holland Mice, Bush Stone Curlews, and others. There are a large number of other native species living within the reserve as well.
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:
I believe I have previously mentioned that this has been an unusually wet year – well it’s gotten wetter. All the creeks across the region are over-top, as is the river in several places, and there is so much standing water in paddocks just from rainfall that it’s impossible to tell if you’re looking at flooding from a waterway or not.
I was tempted to just drive around and take photos of all the water everywhere for this month’s field trip, but in the end I decided to head to Narrandera Common, so you can compare this month’s photos with ones I’ve taken there on previous visits.
With both Bundidgerry Creek and the Murrumbidgee River to contend with, Narrandera Common currently looks like this:
I spent February rushing around all over the place, meaning I visited multiple locations but none for very long, so here is a collection of photos from several of the places I visited this month.
I already posted this earlier in the month as an incidental sighting, but for anyone who missed it, here’s a Bearded Dragon (Pogona barbata) I found in Kindra Forest at Coolamon.
I started this year with a wetland visit, and I thought it fitting to end it with another, only this time I decided to look at a very different type of wetland – rice bays.
Conservation agriculture is something I am particularly interested in, for numerous reasons. One of these reasons – a very major one – is that off-park conservation is vital to the survival of a great many of our native species. Conservation actions undertaken on private land bolster those undertaken in government-managed National Parks and reserves, and often provide essential corridors of habitat connectivity across landscapes. Without off-park conservation efforts – many of which are on private land – our native species would be in an even stickier situation than they currently are, and the current situation is bad enough.