Wonga Wetlands

After a late night, this morning was a bit delayed and quite leisurely. Eventually Francine and brother Michel went off to a PYO farm to collect some blackberries.

I tried my luck at a small pond below Stanley Barge Dam where, on our previous visit in 2017, I’d found some damselflies. This time- nada, nichts, nothing; not a sausage or pas un chat as the French would have it.

Michel took us to Albury where we sat on the River Deck enjoying lunch overlooking the Murray River. Being stuck in a rut I had the burger and I didn’t even have to tell ‘em to “hold the pineapple”. It was a good one so I’m hopeful I can get off my burger fixation now. Francine opted for a roasted squash salad with lentils and Michel demolished a classic Australian barramundi fillet.

As lunch was beginning to digest, Michel ran us a short distance to Wong Wetlands so I could walk off my burger and look for dragonflies. He was definitely getting in to finding water.

I did find some but they were less than scintillating – the usual suspects for this time of year pattern, I suspect – and mostly less than cooperative.

White-throated TreecreeperMuch more interesting on this occasion were the birds. We were lucky enough to watch a quite cooperative White-throated Treecreeper (Cormobates leucophaea) working its way up a tree trunk, as they do, quite close to us. Its very slightly bigger (about 1cm) than our native Treecreeper, to which is is unrelated [it says here].

Australian DarterEqually as interesting, though a lot less cooperative in that it was stuck out on a branch with painfully bright backlight, was an Australasian Darter (Anhinga novaehollandiae). We’ve seen other Darters in Sri Lanka and Africa so it was interesting to add an Australasian version to the collection. Darters are sometimes called Snakebirds because of their long slender necks. They’re a bit Cormorant-like, really.

Wonga Wetlands essentially acts as a reservoir of “reclaimed water”, that is water from sewage treatment. This water is not allowed to be dumped back into the Murray River so it’s being used to create this wetland habitat. There are signs warning you to keep out of the reclaimed water, which makes you wonder just how treated it is, but the wildlife seems to thrive in it.

We’ve got far too many blackberries. 😀

Posted in 2024-01 Australia