It was a very small group that joined us for a visit to Serendip on Saturday, March 18 with many of our members having other commitments on that day.
We were pleased to welcome Louise, a new member of the Friends of Eastern Otways, who has been helping with our weeding activities but this was her first bushland activity with us.
Set in the Western Volcanic Plains Serendip provides the opportunity for visitors to observe the wetlands and grassy woodlands of this environment. Unfortunately, but as can be expected at this time of the year, conditions were dry and much of the vegetation looked stressed and obviously was waiting for some autumn rainfall. Recent planting should improve the vegetation once it gets established.
The only mammal species we encountered were the Black Wallabies that were resting in the shade – usually solitary but occasionally in a small group.
Black Wallabies resting in the shade of a large tree
As we strolled along the Wildlife walk we saw Whistling Kites soaring overhead, Cape Barren Geese wandering about, Brolgas feeding in one of the enclosures, the endangered Masked Owl, the Australian Bustard, Bush Stone-curlew, White-faced Herons resting on a branch of one of the eucalypts and a great viewing of a pair of Tawny Frogmouth watching us as we walked by. Unfortunately photography opportunities were limited with the animals often at a distance behind fences. However an emu was quite happy for us to walk close by.
Inquisitive Cape Barren Geese wandering close to the track
Elegant Brolgas making use of the feeding tray
A pair of White-faced Herons high among the tree tops
Two well-camouflaged Tawny Frogmouth motionless amongst the leafy vegetation
An emu posed for us to photograph
But it was the wetlands and Marshland that gave us the greater pleasure as we found outstanding opportunities for birdwatching from viewing areas and bird hides. Unfortunately it is often not easy to use cameras with protective fencing ensuring the safety of the rarer species. We did however have a great viewing of Australia’s rarest waterfowl, male and female Freckled Duck, along with many of the more common species, various ducks, swamphens and moorhens. A group of Magpie Geese captured our attention on one of the wetlands.
Wetlands with Magpie Geese resting on one of the islands
Birds roosting on edge of the wetlands
After a few hours wandering about we were happy to return to the carpark and find a shady tree where we had lunch before returning home. Food always tastes much better in the outdoors and we were hungry.
Freesia refracta and Freesia alba X F. leichtlinii are declared weeds in the Surf Coast Shire because they spread easily and threaten to invade bushland. Freesias are perennial herbs that die back in summer and produce new foliage in winter. The highly fragrant trumpet-shaped flowers appearing in spring are white to cream and pink with yellow markings, shaded purple on outer surface. Each plant has at least two corms, one below the other, thus requiring deep digging to remove them.
More details about how to control this weed can be found in the archive of Weeds of the Month.
There are a number of wonderful local Friends Groups that provide ANGAIR members and the community with opportunities for involvement.