We had a magic day at Serendip Sanctuary at Lara…the sun shone, plus there was little wind and lots of water.
Four of the handsome Cape Barren Geese greeted us at the car park, and we saw many more later.
Cape Barren Geese
The next excitement was a White-winged Chough nest looking like a perfect large salad-bowl, but made of mud.
White-winged Chough nest
This was attended by a family group of these large black birds which we do not see on the Surfcoast.
As we moved on we were sorry we could not include on our list some of the unusual but captive birds, such as a pair of the large, lordly Australian Bustards. It is so sad to know that these birds, once plentiful in Victoria, can now only be seen in captive locations in this state.
It was also good to see a Brolga close up.
One quite small enclosure was decorated with a statue-like Bush Stone-curlew and a log-like Tawny Frogmouth. The Stone Curlew did move after a while, but the Frogmouth stayed resolutely completely still.
Our group was entranced by a pair of the usually very timid Buff-banded Rails, which ran around almost at our feet.
A Masked Owl in another aviary was new to most of the group. After this we visited several bird hides which gave us good views of numerous water birds including Magpie Geese, and a couple of Dusky Moorhens with tiny chicks.
Dusky Moorhen with tiny chicks
The next long stop was a hide overlooking North Arm with many species, including a Royal Spoonbill which roosted in the same spot on a low tree for the two or so hours we were around this area.
A few raptors provided much discussion on how to identify them. A flock of Purple-crowned Lorikeets cause excitement as this was a new species to several of us.
We had a very pleasant lunch sitting on the edge of the land bridge overlooking two wide water areas.
View of North Arm
Swan and ducks
We had decided that all the Grebes we had seen were Hoary-headed, but two of us produced photos of an Australasian Grebe proving we were wrong, and later two more were seen.
At this stage our group reduced in number, but a few of us went on. We saw two more Chough nests, and a wild Emu walking in swampy water was spied by two of our group.
Our last stop was a hide on the other side of the large shallow, and ephemeral, Lake Serendip.
A total of 44 species was a satisfactory result.
Photos by Ellinor Campbell and Marie Pirotta