I have been so busy this month that I nearly didn’t manage a field visit, but with today being the last day of the month, the weather being nice, and my having no hugely urgent work that desperately needed to be done today, I decided to take a day off and go for a walk/drive out bush somewhere.
I further decided that ‘somewhere’ would be MIA1 – a former state forest reserve that is now part of the Murrumbidgee Valley National Park, and is located between Narrandera and Leeton. MIA1 is one of the sadly numerous reserves in the Riverina that I have spent my life driving past, but never actually visiting. I fixed that today.
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.
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).
I have previously blogged about visits to Fivebough in January this year and last, so you might like to compare with the photos from those visits.
Currently, the main entrance to Fivebough looks like this:
I started last year with a field visit to Fivebough Swamp in Leeton, and I hadn’t intended to do the same this year, but I was in Leeton and awake at 6:30am the morning after it had rained, so what else could I do but go for a walk at Fivebough?
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.
Welcome to the first ‘official’ monthly blog post of Riverina Wildlife. My goal is to post one field trip report per month, interspersed with any incidental sightings or items of interest I’d like to share in between (more information about my posting schedule can be found here). It being the 31st I’m just getting this one in under the wire for January.
On Wednesday I visited Fivebough Swamp, one half of the Ramsar-listed Fivebough & Tuckerbil Wetlands at Leeton. Fivebough and Tuckerbil are two naturally-occurring shallow swamps, located about 10km apart, to the north-east and north-west of Leeton. Fivebough is a permanent, but fluctuating, fresh-brackish wetland, whilst Tuckerbil is a seasonal, shallow, brackish-saline wetland. Tuckerbil is being managed primarily for waterbird conservation, and amongst other things is an important brolga flocking area, and so is not open to the public. Fivebough, on the other hand, is being managed for both conservation and community education and has a permanent walking trail installed in the south-western part of the swamp, complete with interpretive signage, bird hides, viewing mounds and seating; there’s also a covered picnic area near the carpark.