MARIBYRNONG WETLANDS POND

MARIBYRNONG WETLANDS POND WITH THE LARGE ISLAND AND TREES IN THE CENTRE – 31st May 2017

At the risk of getting too repetitious, my trip to the Maribyrnong Wetlands pond on Monday of this week revealed all the usual ducks and scenery, but I’m a great believer in ‘making hay while the sun shines’.

If it’s sunny in mid-winter, any outing is worth all that lovely fresh air and practice with photographing the local bird life.

THERE WERE SEVERAL PACIFIC BLACK DUCKS AND MOST SEEMED TO BE IN THE SHADE/PROTECTION OF THE WATER REEDS, 2 DUCKS SWAM IN MY DIRECTION (IN THE HOPE OF SOME FOOD PERHAPS?)

The bus from right outside my local shops and medical centre takes me straight down the steep river valley to a stop about 20 feet from the large pond next to the river walking path.

ONE (OF TWO) DUSKY MOORHENS SWAM BY SO FAST I NEARLY MISSED THE SHOT.

When I got off the bus on Monday, I was rather taken aback at the strength of the wind and was wishing I had my walking stick, (or even my shopping trolley), to anchor me to the ground (and I am no lightweight).   If it had been raining and I’d had an umbrella, no doubt the wind would have blown it inside out.

THIS IMAGE TAKEN ON THE RIVER SIDE OF THE POND SHOW THE WIND SENDING THE WATER REED LEAVES NEARLY HORIZONTAL.

There weren’t many birds visible on the water surface which was rather strange in many ways, as the local children’s playground is next door and I can well imagine families with young children ‘feeding the ducks’ at any time of the day (or season).

The wind gusts almost seemed gale-force at one stage (and bitterly cold despite the warm sun and blue sky), that I quite literally, photographed the ducks, walked around to the other side of the pond, where I nearly got blown over, back across the rocky causeway and across the road to catch the bus home again 😀

 

There’s some lovely succulents in the long broad garden strip next to the bus stop and being on a raised garden bed means I can photograph them without bending down low.

The bus wasn’t due for another 35 minutes according to the timetable on the lamp post, so I crossed back over the road and caught a bus heading the other way to the local Asian fresh food market to get some vegetables and fruit and then…………………home again 🙂

That must be about the quickest, shortest walk I’ve ever done 😀

Note: I’ve added a couple of images from 2018 & 2017 to show the area (one at the start of this post and one below that I shared not too long ago).   The trees and water reeds you see in the top half of the image below are actually on the island, so you’re only looking at the eastern side of the large pond.

In summer this portion of the pond you see below is nearly dried up and the ducks tend to go around to the road side of the pond to find some water to swim in.

Near one of the other ponds, shown in the map below, about 10 minutes walk from my home, you’re more likely to see the birds near the end of this post.

THE BROKEN LINE DENOTES MY OLD WALKING PATH (BEFORE MY HIP OSTEOARTHRITIS GOT TOO SEVERE TO WALK VERY FAR) AND THE UN-BROKEN LINE DENOTES THE BUS ROUTE I NOW TAKE TO VISIT THE MARIBYRNONG WETLANDS POND. AS YOU CAN SEE BY THE LETTER “H” (FOR HOME), I LIVE ON THE EDGE OF THE GREEN BELT (UP AND DOWN THE RIVER). I’VE LIVED NEXT TO RIVER, PARKLAND OR THE ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS FOR OVER 30 YEARS – HOW LUCKY AM I.

The large expanse of lake-like water between the main river and the housing estates is often quite empty of bird life, but sometimes I get lucky (with the shots below).

WHITE-FACED HERON AT THE NEAREST POND ABOUT 10 MINUTES WALK FROM MY ‘BACK GATE’

EURASIAN COOT (Fulica atra)

Eurasian Coots are ‘common as mud’ in Australia.

You can usually find them in large fresh water lakes, reservoirs and floods, but they can also congregate near swamps, sewage farms and occasionally…….sheltered seas.

Their large dumpy bodies, with sooty black wings and tail, are quite distinctive with only a rich brown eye to relieve the overall body colour.

This poor Coot (below) was stuck on a rock trying to dislodge a piece of fishing line from its beak and gullet near the edge of the river on the north-east side of Melbourne.  Eventually a couple of other walkers and I managed to catch the bird and remove the plastic line and it swam happily on its way, but it was hard to catch I must say.

Nether the walkers, nor I, had a smart phone with internet access, so we couldn’t ring for the local Wildlife Rescue service to come and relieve the Coot of its irritating plastic line.  It does make me cross when I come across birds in distress, due to the thoughtless acts of fishermen and campers.

The bird’s beak and frontal shield is white, so in general, you can’t mistake the identification.

It dives frequently and has a distinctive metallic ‘kyok’ and other twanging sounds.

One day I came across a nest right next to the bank of the Ornamental Lake in the Royal Botanic Gardens and was lucky enough to catch a couple of chicks take their first swim.

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