Thursday, March 17, 2011

Deen Maar

The Deen Maar Indigenous Protected Area lies 15km to the west of Port Fairy and has been touted as a good bird watching locality by Tim Dolby in his book & blog. I rang the Eumeralla Backpackers and was allowed to spend a memorable few hours on Tuesday morning. I believe I would have been the only person on 4.53 square kilometres of marsh, river and lake. A limestone ridge separates the wetlands from the surf beach. In the Google Earth image below Deen Maar essentially includes the river and lake system shown (Eumeralla River and Lake Yambuk) plus everything to the south & west down to the surf:

The limestone ridge is now home to a wind farm. It was weird to travel between & beneath the huge turbines. 

The locked gate at the entrance & bridge across the Eumeralla.

Introductory sign at entrance

Typical wetlands scene
There had been mist in the morning and I was struck by the number of dragon fly crucifixes on the grass tussocks. My initial thought was that they were all stuck in spider webs but later realised they were just drying off. After birding without dragonfly distraction for half an hour they suddenly sprung to life & doing that dragonfly-bird thing out of the corner of your eye.

One of the highlights for me was seeing emu again in their natural environs. While driving along the track, at one stage I emerged over a rise and a scattered group of about 15 emu took off into the bush even though I was a good 300m away. Then distracted by the sound of loud splashing I looked to my left and saw a smaller group smashing through the marsh - again 200-300m away. These are not your sandwich stealing Tower Hill or Healesville sanctuary emu.

About to scarper

The Whistling kite below appears to be negotiating one of the turbines but he was actually flying well in front.

Some birds of interest that have been seen at Deen Maar (but weren't on this day) include bittern, grass owl, blue-winged parrot and orange bellied parrot (the endangered winter migrant).

I did however pick up four "lifers" I think (more on that later!)

Southern Ocean surf


  1. Apart from the bird and dragon-fly watching, it looks like a beautiful spot to be in. I've certainly enjoyed that part of the bird-watching this year, just getting out there and be part of the natural world. Also noticed far more animals than just birds, the reptiles up here are on fire with all the food around. It pays to drive slowly unless on a major road because the bearded dragons etc. are everywhere. Again, great shots Pete, the new camera base is obviously working well!

  2. Ive driven past Deen Maar numerous times but never dropped in, will have to make sure I do sometime. Out of interest did you stop in at the Yambuk River entrance? usually good for Sanderling, Double-banded Plover(in season).


  3. Hi Tim,

    I did happen to drop in there & was disappointed to find neither. I can see both in photos taken during a previous visit in March 2006.