Well it’s all happening down at the Willi Wetlands, spring is definitely in the air (as most hay fever sufferer will attest to) and the local birds are busy with their breeding and nesting activities. The migratory waders have started to show up in decent numbers albeit a bit late this year, mostly likely due to the very wet conditions up north and in our central regions.
With all the recent rain the lakes are currently full to the brim and the overflow drains are discharging fresh water in to the bay. The water levels are very close to the bottom of the bridges on the western lakes and most of the perching rocks are now under water.
With the warmer weather we are starting to see more reptile and amphibian activity. Most morning/evenings you can hear the Common Eastern Froglet and both Striped and Spotted Marsh Frogs calling. Eastern Long-necked Turtles are currently breeding so keep an eye open for strange small holes in the grassed areas near the water for emerging baby turtles, these guys are about the size of a 20 cent coin and will appreciate not being stepped on. I nearly stepped on one the other day that was sitting in the middle of the path around Quest Lake.
If you happen to be out early in the morning/evening keep an eye open for one of the 3 Rakali that have made their home in the Western Lakes. Rakali like to forage for fish, crustaceans, shellfish, small birds, bird eggs, mammals including rats and mice, frogs, and lizards.
As usual for this time of the year Tiger Snakes, Blue-tongued Lizards and Tussock Skinks are active and can often be seen sunbaking or looking for food on the margins of the fresh water lakes and around the saltmarsh.
So far this season there have been 7 breeding pairs of Black Swans, to date they have produced 19 cygnets. With at least one pair still nesting it’s expected the number of cygnets will increase within the next week or two.
What’s about at the moment? Some interesting bird species around at the moment include a pair of juvenile Black-shouldered Kites, Brown Falcon, Nankeen Kestrel, Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Great Crested Grebe, Blue-winged Parrot and Blue-billed Duck.
As for the migratory waders, Red-necked Stint, Common Greenshank and Bar-tailed Godwits are now about with the notable exception of the Sharp-tailed Sandpipers. The Sharpies appear to have cut short their usual migration route from Arctic Siberia to Southern Australia and have propped for the time being at our flooded inland lakes and waterways. They may start showing up later in the year, after the inland areas dry out a bit!
If you would like a full list of the bird sighting for the Willi Wetlands check out the “Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve” hotspot on ebird. You can use ebird as a guest so you don’t have to sign up to use this useful, fun and free resource.
The Friends of the Williamstown Wetlands in conjunction with HBCC will be hosting a bird walk and BBQ on the 27th November 2022 from 10am to noon. All welcome.