Saturday, 29 June 2013

An afternoon at Cattana

A black-necked stork (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus) feeling secure at Cattana Wetlands 
This afternoon I wandered down toward the Cattana Wetlands, startling a black-necked stork (or jabiru) that I was surprised to see in the small creek next to the Yorkeys Knob waste transfer facility. It took off and headed to Cattana, where I caught up with it again. On a small island in the middle of a lake, it seemed much more relaxed about my presence. They're not particularly common sights in the area, but do pop up occasionally.

Almost a decade ago I spent some time as a volunteer with Conservation Volunteers Australia, including a few trips to the then new Cattana Wetlands. It's always nice to head back and see how it is maturing. Today I noticedo lilly pillies and cassowary plums bearing fruit, and both red and yellow pendas in flower. It's a little sad to think the plums will almost certainly never be eaten by the bird from which they take their name.

Birds seemed plentiful today, including little and intermediate egrets, Australasian darters, little pied cormorants and green pygmy-geese. I spotted around 30 species.

It was nice to see quite a few people taking in this under-appreciated site. I often see dedicated birders on the Esplanade , with spotter scopes and telephoto lenses that make me jealous, but I haven't seen them at Cattana.

I'll certainly be making many return visits.

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