Thursday, October 12, 2017

Rosewoods and Rosewoods - by Trish Gardner

Bob Fuller remarked at the last meeting that the rosewood used in his school woodwork classes was not the same as the rosewood which grows in the Lockyer Valley. The rosewood after which the famous Rosewood Scrub is named is a wattle, Acacia fasciculifera. It is a wonderful timber, very beautiful, and (as you’d expect from a long-lived wattle species) very heavy. It is rarely used for furniture, but the pieces which exist are much-loved by their owners, and are often family heirlooms. They are almost impossible to pick up and carry, though. It’s also used for fenceposts which never wear out.

The Australian “rosewood” which is more likely to be used for furniture (and in woodwork classes) is Dysoxylum fraserianum. It grows in south-east Queensland and northern NSW rainforests. It is very common at Ravensbourne, and easy to grow in our local red soil.
Rosewood is a name that simply has popular appeal, so there are lots of trees with red timber that have been given the name. In Australia, it is also given to Acacia rhodoxylon, (another heavy timber like the Lockyer Rose-wood). We also have several “scentless rosewood” species (Synoum sp), and a “scrub rosewood” (Pseudoweinmannia). Even the introduced weed, Tipuana tipu, is sometimes called “rosewood”, though locally we know it as Racehorse Tree.
Internationally, the name is most often given to various species of Dalbergia, which go by the names of Brazilian rosewood, Honduras rosewood, Indian rosewood - or simply “rosewood”.

You may have parked your car under this rosewood tree (Dysoxylum fraserianum) at Beutel’s Lookout, Ravensbourne.

Report on September Outing to Marburg

Crow's Ash seedpods in dry rainforest
Ten Field Nats made their way to Marburg and met Bob Hampson and his wife Narelle at the park opposite the hotel by 9.00am. Bob, who is the co-ordinator of West Moreton Landcare welcomed us and began by telling us a brief history of Marburg. The area had once been highly forested, with Crow’s ash (Flindersia australis) (also known as the Australian teak) the signature tree of the region, but extensive logging over the years has reduced the forest to remnants. One of the effects of extensive logging has been that the water table rose and with it the water became more saline, so that the water table, which is only about a metre deep in places, has made the Black Snake Creek quite salty. We also learned that at one stage there was a sugar mill in town, with an adjacent refinery as well as a rum factory, producing 1200-1500 gallons of rum annually. During the time of the American Civil War, cotton was planted in Marburg, and the first Kanakas employed in Australia were at Marburg. The cotton experiment did not last.

After the short introduction to Marburg, we were taken for a walk around the relatively new walking pathway near the Creek and the attempts to rehabilitate the Creek with native plantings. The round trip brought us back to the Park and the end of the first part of our program. Awaiting us at the Park was Fiona McAdam, a former social worker, a lawyer, an adoptee of the Yolgnu people in north-east Arnhem Land, now resident of Marburg. Fiona was recently bitten by an Eastern Brown Snake and survived to tell the tale. One of the larger remnants of the dry rainforest or vine scrub, as it is frequently known, is on Fiona’s property.

When we arrived at the scrub, some members elected not to walk down a slope and went with Fiona, while those that overcame the first hurdle of a fence, went through the remnant forest with Bob and Narelle Hampson. They pointed out a number of trees and vines and spoke about them, and they were very ably aided by our soon-to-be member, Colin Walpole. What is recorded is a reflection of the paucity of knowledge of the writer and not of our hosts.

Some of the specimens found in the forest/scrub: Crow’s Apple (Owenia venosa), Scrub Whitewood (Atalaya salicifolia), Native Holly (Alchornea ilicifolia), Red Kamala (Mallotus philippensis), Small-leaved Fig (Ficus obliqua), Celery Wood (Polyscias elegans), Rough-leaved Elm (Aphananthe philippensis), Foambark (Jagera pseudorhus), Red Olive-Plum (Elaeodendron australe).

Jagera pseudorhus with its fruit and seeds

Red Olive Plum (Elaeodendron australe)

Bird List: covers areas visited including Marburg, Black Snake Creek, Fiona McAdam’s Property, Emu Farm.
(compiled by Tricia Allen from Members’ sightings)

Australian Wood Duck, Little Black Cormorant, Pacific Black Duck, Straw-necked Ibis, Australian White Ibis, Brown Falcon, Purple Swamp Hen, Masked Lapwing, Crested Pigeon, Spotted Turtle Dove, Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo, Galah, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Fantail Cuckoo (H), Laughing Kookaburra, Rainbow Bee-eater, Superb Fairy Wren, White-browed Scrubwren, Noisy Miner, Brown Honeyeater, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Lewin’s Honeyeater, Eastern Yellow Robin, Grey-crowned Babbler, Eastern Whipbird, Rufous Whistler, Grey Shrike Thrush, Rufous Fantail, Grey Fantail, Willie Wagtail, Figbird, Pied Butcherbird, Torresian Crow, Sparrow, Welcome Swallow, Australian Reed Warbler. 
(Report and photos by Francis Mangubhai)

“Try It” Emu Farm 
Emu chick - photo by Jean Gundry
We all have passed this farm many times and taken a sideways glance at the emus in the field. Sunday’s outing was a good opportunity to find out how this Australian icon is being used to improve our health. An emu in the wild can expect a life span of about 70 years. At “Try It” Emu farm chicks are raised from eggs and the emu oil and meat is harvested after two years. Eggs are incubated for about 50 days and during this period the eggs are turned, as a father emu would do in the wild. We tapped and listened to the eggs to hear the chirp of the chick, almost ready to peck its way out of its shell. Seven hundred chicks were born at the farm this year though the expected rate of chick production is 50% as many eggs will be infertile.

At two years of age, breeding begins and come February of that year, the emus are at their prime for fat (oil) and are bound for the abattoir. Sixteen kilograms of fat are harvested very easily as the fat melts at 35°C and the very lean prime cuts of meat (1-1½ kg per bird) head to the restaurants. The rest of the meat, as well as the bones, goes to the pet food industry. Bone marrow and the cartilage are added to the oil. The skin, however, is usually damaged from the emus’ fighting and not a source of leather but it is used as a source of gelatine. The only waste is the lower legs. Emu oil has been proved to be 30 times more powerful that other oils as it is high in Omega 9, 3, 6, 5 and 7. “Try It” emu oil is tested so that it is safe for use over a three-year period. It is recommended for arthritis, tennis elbow and repetitive stress injuries. Ingesting emu oil is said to be good for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol and for Type 2 diabetes. Some of us were interested in the ‘Hoof Cream’ on sale in the shop! Stephen Schmidt, the owner of the emu farm, is the living proof of the efficacy of emu oil. It might be worth a try if you suffer from any of the above problems. 
(Report by Linda Mangubhai)

Fiona McAdam’s Property

Those of us who decided to join Fiona’s group were able to experience one of Fiona’s favourite locations on her property. We visited an abandoned home belonging to former owners who built it at least 100 years ago. With no power or running water their life must have been quite basic by today’s standards. The home was built on the side of a gully which traverses the property. Several dams are now built along the gully and one can imagine the plentiful supply of water which would replenish these dams after rain. Fiona took us along the well treed gully to a very protected area where we were able to walk along the valley floor. The birds were in fine voice amongst the wattles, alphitonias, eucalypts etc. As we enjoyed a lovely morning tea provided by Fiona she showed us photos of the weed management projects she has been undertaking - waging war on Cats Claw in particular. We really appreciated this opportunity to share and understand Fiona’s passion for caring for her special part of the world. Before joining the rest of the group for lunch we returned to the top of the hill to see an extensive stone wall constructed with basalt rocks. For the first German settlers, the wall was a pragmatic solution to several challenges - rocky ground and the need to restrain animals- and the fact that the wall has stood the test of time is a tribute to their skill.

Stone Wall
(Report and photo by Jean Gundry)

Friday, September 1, 2017

September Club Outing: Two Properties in Kingsthorpe Area

[This outing was combined with the Toowoomba Photographic Society.]

This excursion evolved over the past one year when Gerry Saide and I thought it a good idea for our two clubs to have a combined outing – for the Nats to look at a subject through the eyes of a good photographer, and for the Photographers to borrow from our naturalist eyes. Twenty-three members and two visitors, plus 12 photographers, enjoyed a day out together. At least three of our members were also members of the Photographic Society. We assembled at “Coronet Street” to carpool and I gave directions to Laws’ place, only to have most of them arrive there before I did.
White-winged Fairy-wren (Photo: Blade Preston)
Glen and Nicki Laws own a Vet Practice in Oakey and Westbrook and run a Wagyu breeding program on their property three kilometres north of Kingsthorpe, where they have lived for about 10 years. We had the benefit of their garden and the back corner of the farm where the White-winged Fairy-wren was present for the first group to see – though perhaps only Blade Preston captured an image of it. Nicki and Glen put on a billy tea and damper for us at about 11.30am, which is when most of us caught up with the large koala perched conveniently in an old mountain coolabah near their deck. Nicki had not seen any koalas on her early morning walk, so she assumes that it made its way there at about 8.00am – just for our benefit! Much appreciated.
Koala in E.orgadophila (Photo: Blade Preston)

We made our way to Goombungee’s Pioneers’ Arms Hotel for our 1.00pm date with lunch and I’m pleased that all went well. Thirty-six in total dined, including Nicki and Evan.
Our afternoon venue was at Russell and Evan Ehrlich’s farm, about four kilometres north of Laws’ place. It has been in the family for three generations (about 90 years) and ceased to be a dairy farm only one month ago. They are moving into Angus beef production, and we saw some of these on their Cooby Creek block later in the afternoon. Our first walk took us along a Landcare windbreak/corridor with a variety of endemic species. At this early afternoon hour, it was not a good time for birdwatching. The dead trees where we were parked had been ring-barked long ago by Evan’s grandad. These provided good atmosphere for the photographers who went into overdrive, also a fine opportunity for us when some birds landed (tree martins and an Australian Kes trel) against an afternoon sky backdrop.
We moved to Ehrlich’s Cooby Creek block, next to the Boodua Reserve. Currently, there are only shrinking waterholes in the prevailing dry, but I’ll urge you all to make a trip there some time after good general rain when the water levels are well up. Then you’ll need care as you drive in on the black soil road!
Our sincere thanks to the two landholders who welcomed us to their inner sanctums so openly and gave so generously of their time.                                                                                                                                                                          [Report by Ben Gundry]

Bird List (complied by Natasha and Blade Preston)

Australian Raven, Galah, Zebra Finch, Kestrel, Black-shouldered Kite, Superb Fairy-wren, White-winged Fairy-wren, Variegated Fairy-wren, Rainbow Lorikeet, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, White-faced Heron, Straw-necked Ibis, Red-rumped Parrot, Australian Magpie, Yellow Thornbill, Welcome Swallow, Tree Martin, Striped Honeyeater, Brown Honeyeater, Noisy Miner, Magpie Lark, Little Friarbird, Fairy Martin, Australian Pipit, Rufous Songlark, Rock Dove, Pale-headed Rosella, King Parrot, Cattle Egret, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Grey-crowned Babbler, Crested Pigeon, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Apostlebird, Striated Pardalote, Laughing Kookaburra, Indian Mynah, Pied Currawong.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

August Outings Report: Lowood and Jensen's Swamp

Nine-fifteen on Sunday morning saw a good group of fourteen Naturalists assemble outside Peter Bevan’s Hobby Nursery in Patrick Street, Lowood. We walked a short distance up the road and onto the old rail corridor. The Brisbane Valley railway established a branch line terminus at Lowood in 1884 to bring in supplies for the scattered farms and transport their produce to the Brisbane markets, also take timber out. Before that time the area was known as ‘The Scrub’ and the new name stemmed from the ‘low woods’ of Brigalow which differed from the taller trees elsewhere in the Brisbane Valley. A town soon grew up beside the terminus. The line serviced the area for over a century, with the last rail motor using it in 1989, then it was closed.
The rails were taken up and the corridor has become the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail for use by walkers, cyclists and horse riders. When completed the 161 kilometre way will go all the way from Wulkuraka to Yarraman.
Peter Bevan, with the help of some friends, has been responsible for the revegetation and enhancement of the Lowood section of the disused rail corridor, and what a magnificent job he has done. Except perhaps for Myall Park, I do not believe I have seen so many different native plants in one area – approximately half a kilometre stretch of healthy trees, bushes and groundcovers from mature to newly planted, many of them flowering in winter. After years of hard work, and Peter’s obviously wonderful green thumbs, the success of the project has brought assistance from the Somerset Regional Council and others, and planting areas will extend into the town.

We were not the only ones enjoying the sunshine; there were a number of hikers and cyclists making use of the trail. The area is a haven for birds and other wildlife. Some of the birds are so used to humans they have become exceptionally cheeky and a Scaly-breasted Lorikeet was rather difficult to photograph when sitting on my head or the camera! Most of us bought plants from Pete’s Nursery, a treasure-trove of native species. 

Acacia concurrens trees on the trail - Lowood

Sysygium corniflorum in Pete's garden

Bird's Nest fungi Cyathus stercoreus growing in the mulch around new plantings on the trail

(Above photos by Jim Ball)
Our party proceeded to Jensen’s Swamp Environmental Reserve, a 20 hectare (approximately) area nicely set up with picnic facilities and walking tracks. This is another example of a small number of volunteers putting in a huge effort to look after and enhance an area of importance for local flora and fauna. Pauline von Ruetzen and her husband Norbert met us for lunch and gave us a guided walk along some of the many trails.
Lunchtime provided an unexpected bonus. A group of aboriginal men and a couple of friends from the Ipswich district were having a day get-together and had been looking for a suitable piece of wood to make a new didgeridoo. One of the young men gave us an impromptu performance on a didgeridoo he had with him and was a most accomplished player. We spent some time in conversation with them.
Hibiscus insularis (photo: Jean Gundry)
Alas no koala sightings but we were intrigued with a large, unusual hibiscus with very attractive flowers which we were unable to identify at the time. This turned out to be the Phillip Island hibiscus, Hibiscus insularis. It is endemic to Phillip Island located south of Norfolk Island, where each of the two original clumps consist of multiple stems of a single genotype and do not produce seedlings in the wild. It is usually propagated by cuttings and is listed as critically endangered in its natural habitat.

(Report by Diana Ball)

Bird list for Lowood and Jensen’s swamp and further report (by Ben Gundry)

Combined for both venues:
Darter, Pied cormorant, Pacific Black Duck, Wood duck, Grey Teal, Dusky Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Intermediate Egret, Straw-necked Ibis, Masked Lapwing, Galah, Rainbow Lorikeet, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Crested Pigeon, Pheasant Coucal, Kookaburra, Superb Fairy-wren, Red-backed Fairy-wren, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Striated Pardalote (heard), Little Friarbird, Noisy Miner, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Brown Honeyeater, Striped Honeyeater, Figbird, Pied Butcherbird, Grey Butcherbird, Magpie, Torresian Crow, Welcome Swallow.
A raptor may have been a Black Kite. My mystery bird at Jensen’s Swamp was perhaps a female Rufous Whistler (seen, but not heard). Also, feral Rock Pigeons.
En route to/from Lowood: Sacred (white) Ibis, White-headed Pigeon, Plumed Whistling Duck (perhaps a thousand, beside a farm dam at Brightview), Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Magpie Lark, Red-tailed Black Cockatoo.
While having lunch at Jensen’s Swamp, we were joined by about 12 Aboriginal men whose backgrounds were from all over Queensland, and who were gathering termite-hollowed eucalyptus branches, from Crown Land, which would be suitable for didgeridoo-making. We were entertained by their impromptu didgeridoo performances and by the humour of their easy confraternity on such an occasion. With our attention diverted, we did not realize that our eats had been raided by an opportunistic butcherbird.
The surprise birds of the day were a pair of Eclectus Parrots. Trish, who lives in one of the Nursery houses and who works in the Nursery and on Pete’s Rail Revegetation Project, feeds the lorikeets and owns the two Eclectus Parrots. Dexter (the male, of course) is two years old and is captive-bred. Precious (the female) was found after a flood, so must have been a captive bird. She laid last year and is occupying the nest again just now – however, Dexter may not yet be mature enough for eggs to be fertilized. Trish has made the observation that Dexter “enjoys the wing”. (i.e. he sits at times with one wing between his legs – a substitute mating procedure.)
Males are a bright lime-green, with bright red wing coverts and sides of the body, and an orange bill. Females are much more vivid – chiefly bright red with a broad body band of purplish-blue, and a black bill. Females do not reach reproductive maturity until about five years of age.

When breeding, the female is secluded for the duration in the nest hollow, with the male delivering food (fruits, nuts, pizzas, etc.). Her vivid colours would otherwise attract predators to the nest site. As a large parrot, bigger than a galah, they would live to a considerable age – probably several decades.

The other noteworthy sighting was a pink flamingo, seen in the front garden of a house opposite the nursery. This sighting was verified by some members who have far more experience of Africa than I do.

Little Friarbird (photo: Jim Ball)

Monday, June 26, 2017

OUTING REPORT: Crows Nest National Park – Sunday, 04 June

A keen group of Nats, for once carrying their morning tea, set off from the car park at Crows Nest National Park to walk about a kilometre to the Falls. It was a mild, sunny morning for a stroll through the eucalypt forest.
There were bird sightings (see Bird List) and several flowering shrubs that created great interest. Among the latter was the Seven Dwarfs Grevillea, Grevillea floribunda subsp. tenella (Crows Nest Form) (photo below). Some specimens were flowering well and were a magnet for photographers, since we were in the only location where this grevillea is found. There was also a local variety of correa, Correa reflexa, with very straight, pure green flowers that were partially concealed by a pair of folded-down leaves. Slender Westringia, Westringia eremi-cola, was also in bloom.

Moth larvae had been at work on the Soap Ash, Alphitonia excelsa. The smaller instars behaved as leaf miners, with older caterpillars making quite conspicuous shelters from the leaves by pulling the two sides together.
On reaching the Falls, the group admired the granite cliffs and creek falling twenty metres to the rockpool below, before finding themselves perches on rocks or logs for morning tea. The highlight of this stop was the very close sighting of a Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby that did not seem at all fazed by a large party of chatting Nats. Some then took the more challenging walk to the Lookout with views of The Valley of the Diamonds. Others wandered back via the lower creek track and Bottlebrush Pool, where they had a very interesting encounter with the President of the Australasian Native Orchid Society (Qld), Graham Corbin, who happened to be searching for orchids with his parents, also enthusiasts. Graham was very generous with his time and expertise, and led several Nats to the tiny but exquisite flowering Acianthus exertis and Chiloglottis diphylla. He explained that the latter uses sexual deception to ensure pollination by specific wasps. The orchid's lip has raised calli whose structures mimic the flightless female of the wasp pollinator.
Back at the picnic area, the Nats enjoyed lunch before setting off for Tricia and Adrian Allen's property at Grapetree. Their extensive garden was at its best, having been open to the public the previous weekend. Every-one enjoyed a walk and then the excellent afternoon tea Tricia provided. It was hard to think of going home and many lingered, there being few better places for a chat and stroll on a sunny winter afternoon.
Thank you, Tricia and Adrian, for sharing your beautiful property and for your generous hospitality.

Bird List (Complied by Tricia Allen from Members’ sightings)
Straw-necked Ibis, Wonga Pigeon, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, King Parrott, Pale-headed Rosella, Tawny Frogmouth, Laughing Kookaburra, Variegated Fairy Wren, Red-backed Fairy Wren, White-throated Gerygone (H), Spotted Pardalote, Brown Thornbill, White-browed Scrub Wren, Lewin’s Honeyeater, Eastern Spinebill, Noisy Miner, Yellow-faced Honey-eater, Scarlet Robin, Eastern Whipbird (H), Rufous? Whistler (H), Grey Shrike-thrush, Grey Fantail, Australian Magpie, Torresian Crow, Currawong, Red-browed Finch.

(Report by Diane Pagel)
 Seven Dwarfs Grevillea, Grevillea floribunda subsp. tenella,  

Podaxis beringamensis

Above photos taken by Mike Ford

SPEAKER’S REPORT: How do we change people’s environmental behaviours? Penny Claringbull

I found this talk fascinating, informative and alarming. Penny subtitled her talk “An overview of behaviour change campaigns related to water conservation and water quality in North Queensland and the great Barrier Reef” which gave the first impression that we were going to cover a lot of ground, physically and ecologically.  However, Penny then focussed on her years of work as part of a team aiming to change the behaviour of Townsville residents as it impacted on the environment; particularly on their use of water as it affected their lifestyle.  She described several problems the town faced because of its situation, the variable rainfall and climate and the entrenched water use habit. This is engendered by a lax water use policy combined with inadequate water storage for the city based on the Ross River Dam, primarily designed for flood mitigation. At the other end of the cycle where the water goes next affects the river, the wetlands and then the sea water quality. Townsville contributes as much polluted water to the reef, from runoff from roads and overwatering of lawns, as does Abbot Point dredging.
In Townsville, public education in the environment and its needs were a focus and these covered the schools, stalls at community events and so on. It was clear that many had no experience of any environment outside the town nor what lived there and how it impacted on them, for example the reason for stinky fish kills at times of low water flows. Research showed that the major water use was lawn watering (70% of the total household use) as the social expectation was that everyone would have a green lawn… green lawns are good and show your social standing and commitment. This use, particularly in the winter dry season, when the lawns are not grow-ing, leads to increased nitrogen loads from dog poo and lawn clippings dumped in the stormwater system and so on to the wetlands and reef. One of the mantras invoked by those in power is; if people understand and love a place they will change their behaviour to protect it - but it is a myth.
Penny gave an example of the behaviours that have to be understood before the target people can be persuaded to adopt behaviour that addresses a problem. In the US a public park, which is home to a herd of rare deer, was a favourite walking spot for dogs off the leash. These then chased the deer. Neither notices asking for dogs to be kept on the leash, fines for having dogs off leash or even bans on dogs worked. When asked, the dog owners said the dogs deserve to be off the leash and that was their owners’ priority in coming there. So, the signs were changed to warn that dogs off leash sometimes never returned - and that worked.
So, in Townsville they researched how to modify the use of water on lawns. This was achieved by finding more effective watering systems on the hard clay soils, promoting the use of grass species more suitable to the climate (for example Zoysia, a grass native to Australia and eastern Asia). This was done by painstaking research to identify what people knew and what were the myths they subscribed to and then painstaking education to demonstrate how they could change their behaviour to the advantage of all. It all went well until resistance, by a vocal minority, grew to a Council plan to reduce the allowed water allocation in tandem with the voluntary adoption measures that were reducing water use. Now Townsville is on level 3 water restrictions (100 litres a day, two days a week, before 9.00am after 4.00pm) with on-the-spot fines of $365 a day for non-compliance.
In conclusion Penny pointed out that behaviour change techniques are powerful and are being used for all sorts of purposes around the world. These are not necessarily for the good of the target population but as a way of controlling and, in some cases, shifting blame back to the population, when the political will to implement change becomes too hard. Doesn’t that sound familiar!

(Report by Michael Jefferies)

Friday, May 26, 2017

MELBOURNE WATER (A Short History of “Sewerage Today - A Birds Wonderland”)

Melbourne water has played a significant role in the city’s development from creating underground sewerage in the 1890’s to completion of Thomson Reservoir the city’s largest in 1984.
1891 - Melbourne Water’s predecessor, The Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works was formed to take responsibility for both water supply and the treatment of sewage.
1892 - Construction began on Melbourne’s sewerage system, a treatment farm was built at Werribee and a pumping station at Spotswood.
1897 - Known as the Western Treatment plant the former Werribee farm, began operation and the first homes were connected.
1910 to 1970 - The Great Depression and two world wars caused delays in construction extensions and Improvements to both the sewerage and drainage systems.
1970 - The Environment Protection Act 1970 ensured a major improvement in river health.
1999 - Melbourne Water announces ‘The Healthy Bay Initiative’, which includes the construction of ten wetlands in the SE growth corridor.
2004 - ‘Our Water Our Future’ a long-term plan for water conservation to sustain growth was implemented. It also aimed to reduce nitrogen loads in Port Philip Bay and make available recycled water for farms parks and market gardens.
Western treatment plant: The western treatment plant today provides a haven for tens of thousands of birds (284 species have been recorded) thanks to a variety of landforms, the permanent water supply and lots of different tree and plant species. The area is one of the most popular sites for bird watching in Victoria. Threatened Species here are Brolga and the Orange Bellied Parrot.
Shorebirds: There are many different species of which 75% are migratory; some of Australia’s rarest have been recorded here including the Asian Dowitcher and the Buff Breasted Sandpiper. 16,000 shorebirds feed on the mudflats and the discharge of the treated effluent enriches the inter-tidal mudflats. Some which have been recorded are: Red kneed Dotterel; Red necked Avocet; Red Necked Stint; Lewin’s Rail; Pied Cormorant and Water-fowl. It is an important refuge for these during drought and the duck hunting season. Chestnut Teal and Freckled Duck are two other birds of interest.
Eastern treatment plant: The eastern treatment plant is home to a large native bird population. Types found here include Superb Fairy-wren; Magpie Lark; White plumed Honeyeater; Black Swan and Grey Teal. The plant offers birds lots of food such as water plants, zooplankton, aquatic insect larvae and flying insects.
Edithvale-Seaford wetland: This is the largest remaining natural wetland of its kind in the Port Philip/West-ernport region with an estimated 7000 birds at any one time calling it home.
This little story proves that many birds and bird species rely for at least part of each year on Melbourne sewer-age for their survival. Some of the migratory ones travel 24,000 kilometres each year and tagged ones have made this journey ten times in their lifetime. Considering it all began in the 1890’s as a sewerage plant and today it is still a sewerage plant but also a bird wonderland.
Could we consider this - Werribee Wetlands and Wyreema Wetlands??!!!

(Article by Diane Turner)