Western Wetlands 3 April 2011
The excursion to wetlands west of Ballarat began with two carloads of field nats leaving Ballarat on a cool autumn morning and two other people joined us during the day.
Winter Swamp has filled with water. Most of the surface has emergent plants – rushes, sedges, milfoil, and floating duckweed and Azolla. A pair of Coots were feeding a red-headed chick. Many coots, moorhen and swamphens were seen. Only heads of swans were seen above the vegetation.
We travelled to the eastern side of Lake Burrumbeet. The trees, mainly wattles, direct seeded in 2007 have now grown to over 2 metres tall in areas with fertile soils. However in the poor quality, non-wetting sands, the direct seeding and tube plantings have been less successful. On a walk near the caravan park we found Great Cormorant, Black Duck, Hardhead and Silver Gull on the water and Grey Fantail, New Holland Honeyeater and Yellow-rumped Thornbill in the trees. On a conifer we saw developing cones near the top of the tree.
Looking north from Dobsons Lane we could see Cockpit Lagoon and two other swamps full of water. Many Black Swans had cygnets or were still nesting. Shelduck were also on the swamps. A pair of Brolga was grazing in a paddock near a herd of cattle.
We enjoyed lunch sheltered by a plantation of trees at Sawyer Bay before travelling south to Black Swamp.
Viewing Black Swamp from the roadside we saw Black Swan, Silver Gulls, Musk Duck. Perched along a fence were many Welcome Swallows accompanied by a couple Fairy Martin. The flock of swallows later settled on the gravel road.
We travelled further west to Lake Goldsmith. Birds were flighty here due to the duck-shooting season and we heard a couple shots. Black Duck. Shelduck, and Grey Teal were common and we also saw Australasian Shoveler and Chestnut Teal. Coot, Moorhen and Swamphen all were seen with young. Australian Grebe had chicks and Hoary-headed Grebe were diving. A mauve flowering daisy on the lake banks was identified as Vittadinia gracilis, Woolly New Holland Daisy. We saw few raptors during the day, a Brown Falcon on powerlines and a distant Whistling Kite over Lake Goldsmith.
Our afternoon tea break was held near the closed Lake Goldsmith School and we returned via Beaufort.