Monday, 18 February 2013

Begola Wetlands

Begola Wetlands is a remnant of the once more extensive wetlands that ran behind the dunes of Ocean Grove and Pt Lonsdale to Swan Bay (see map). It contains a shallow lake that dries out in most summers and is a haven for waterbirds that feed in shallow water or mud. The recent hot, dry weather has dried up most of the lake leaving extensive mudbanks that have attracted a large number of birds. 

Begola Wetlands, Ocean Grove

I spent an hour walking around the wetlands this evening as the sun was setting and saw 25 species:
  • Pacific Black Duck
  • Grey Teal
  • Chestnut Teal
  • Australasian Grebe
  • Purple Swamphen
  • Dusky Moorhen
  • Eurasian Coot
  • Australian Spotted Crake
  • Masked Lapwing
  • Nankeen Night-Heron
  • Australian White Ibis
  • Royal Spoonbill
  • Silver Gull
  • Latham's Snipe
  • Black-fronted Dotterel
  • Rock Dove
  • Spotted Dove
  • New Holland Honeyeater
  • Australian Magpie
  • Magpie-lark
  • Willie Wagtail
  • Superb Fairy-wren
  • Common Starling
  • Little Raven
  • Welcome Swallow

I'm not a great list keeper but I cannot remember seeing this many species here in a single visit before. 

With the receding water, most of the birds were in the central part of the lake, 50-100 metres away, so were not the best photographic subjects but I managed to capture a few (mostly cropped quite heavily).

Masked Lapwing, Begola Wetlands, Ocean Grove
Australian Spotted Crake, Begola Wetlands, Ocean Grove
Black-fronted Dotterel, Begola Wetlands, Ocean Grove
Chestnut Teal, Begola Wetlands, Ocean Grove
Grey Teal, Begola Wetlands, Ocean Grove
Nankeen Night-Heron, Begola Wetlands, Ocean Grove
Royal Spoonbill, Begola Wetlands, Ocean Grove

I counted at least 6 Latham's Snipe, all out in the open, feeding and preening on the mudflats. Snipe are usually quite secretive so it was great to see them so clearly and manage to photograph some, albeit from a long distance.

Some were heavily camouflaged among the weeds in the mud

Latham's Snipe, Begola Wetlands, Ocean Grove

Others were up and about, feeding

Latham's Snipe, Begola Wetlands, Ocean Grove

While this one shared a bath with a Chestnut Teal, closely observed by a Dusky Moorhen

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