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The 250 hectare, Serendip sanctuary was a new experience for many in our group, and we all enjoyed the delights of this wildlife oasis.

In particular, it was just amazing to be able to come so close to many bird species, which were once common, but are now, except for those being bred in captivity, rare or extinct in Victoria.

Magpie Geese

Magpie Geese

Scores of the magnificent Magpie Geese were flying in and out of the sanctuary, sometimes forming a striking border on the outer branches of the highest trees.

Magpie Geese in the trees

Magpie Geese in the trees

These are a testament to an active breeding program, started by the Victorian Government in the 1960’s, using northern species, since, by the early 1900s, they were extinct in this state.

Caged birds in close-view included: Bush Stone-curlews, which are endangered in northern Victoria, and very rare to extinct in the south; Blue-faced Honeyeaters; and a Masked Owl.

Ignoring the Bush Stone-curlews

Ignoring the Bush Stone-curlews

Blue-faced Honeyeater

Blue-faced Honeyeater

Masked Owl

Masked Owl

Other spectacular large birds were Brolgas, Bustards (several males with evidence of their unusual white-plumaged breast sac), Cape Barren Geese and Emus.



Male Bustard

Male Bustard

Cape Barren Geese

Cape Barren Geese

We noted mating behaviour in several animal species, which may be due to the projected ‘El Nino weather’–a warm, dry winter and early breeding all around. We spent an hour eating lunch, while sitting on the bridge facing North Arm, as there were so many water birds to be seen, including some of the less common species such as Pink-eared Duck, Shoveler and Shelduck.

Lots of ducks at lunch

Lots of ducks at lunch

During the day, we saw 47 bird species plus many mammals such as kangaroos, wallabies and, sadly, a fox.

Just before returning to the car park, we spent some time at the pond near the information centre identifying a female or young Blue-billed Duck; we were hindered by having left our bird books in our cars, and by a total lack of bird apps.

Yes…its a Blue-billed Duck

Yes…its a Blue-billed Duck

We can certainly recommend Serendip to anyone with some spare time when travelling between Geelong and Melbourne – and it’s free!

Below are all the birds identified:

*  captive birds

1.  Emu*

2.  Magpie Goose

3.  Cape Barren /goose*

4. Black swan

5. Australian Shelduck

6. Australian Wood Duck

7. Pink-eared Duck

8. Australasian Shoveler

9.  Grey Teal

10. Chestnut Teal

11. Pacific Black Duck

12. Hardhead

13. Blue-billed Duck*

14. Australasian Grebe

15. Crested Pigeon

16.Tawny Frogmouth*

17. Little Pied Cormorant

18. White-faced Heron

19. Australian White Ibis

20. Straw-necked Ibis

21. Whistling Kite

22. Black Kite

23. Brolga*

24. Purple Swamphen

25. Dusky Moorhen

26. Buff-banded Rail*

27. Eurasian Coot

28. Australian Bustard*

29. Black-Winged Stilt

30. Black-fronted Dotterel

31. Red-kneed Dotterel

32. Masked Lapwing

33. Galah

34. Eastern Rosella

35. Red-rumped Parrot

36. Masked Owl*

37.  Superb Fairy-wren

38. White-plumed Honeyeater

39. Red Wattlebird

40. New Holland Honeyeater

41. Blue-faced Honeyeater*

42. Australian Magpie

43. Willy Wagtail.

44. Little Raven

45. white-winged chough

46. Magpie-lark

47. Welcome Swallow

48.Red-browed Finch

49. House Sparrow

Ellinor Campbell