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.
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:
In my first attempt to keep my promise to you and myself to try and get out more in June – and to celebrate the end of the work assignment that kept me chained to my desk every waking moment of the past two weeks – I headed back to Narrandera Common yesterday for a walk along the canal bank.
I’m not counting this as an official monthly field visit, because I did one to Narrandera Common in February, so the official June Field Visit is yet to come. Maybe count this as in lieu of April or May – especially as I had intended to visit Narrandera Common in April, for the annual koala count, which unfortunately got rained out and cancelled, and I did see some koalas yesterday (scroll down for pics).
Instead of walking through the interior of the woodland, as I did in February, I decided to walk along the canal bank this time. The Main Canal comes off of Lake Talbot at Narrandera, right next to the Common/Wildlife Reserve, and goes on to feed the Murrumbidgee and Coleambally Irrigation Areas downstream. There is a lovely broad, flat walking path along the edge of the canal for several kilometres, from the gate into the Common down to the Rocky Waterholes Footbridge. This is a very popular place for walkers as it’s a lovely easy grade and you can set your own pace, there’s no vehicular access except occasionally for maintenance (or emergency) vehicles, and you have the great experience of walking along with river red gum woodland on one side, and the canal and Lake Talbot on the other. This gives a great cross-section of bush birds and waterbirds in one place, with a high probability of seeing a koala or several, and the rather lower but not impossible chance of coming across a turtle or water-rat. Something went very loudly ‘splosh’ right behind me yesterday as I was looking at birds in the trees, and I’m disappointed that I didn’t get to see what it was. The bank is also raised higher than the floodplain the trees grow in, so you’re at lower-branch level for many trees, which brings a lot of the more arboreal wildlife closer and easier to see.
As always: click on the photos to enlarge them.
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.
In October 2002 Fivebough and Tuckerbil were jointly recognised as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. You can find a list of all Ramsar wetlands in Australia here.
As it is World Wetlands Day next Monday (February 2nd – the date on which the Ramsar Convention was originally signed in 1971) I thought Fivebough was a good choice for January’s field trip.