Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Fishers Wetland - Site Guide

Fishers is being particularly productive at present with regular sightings of visitors including black-winged stilt, black-tailed native hen and many duck varieties. Buff banded rail (photos) and Australian spotted crake are also being seen. Cape barren geese seem to be the new black swan currently.

About Fishers Wetland
The sanctuary is currently a designated part of the Phillip Island Nature Park. It lies adjacent to the Churchill Island road near Newhaven on Phillip Island (see geo-mapped Location link at base of blog). Although it is easiest to park at the wetlands themselves (some birds best seen from the car) there is however a pleasant eucalypt woodland walk which starts at the park gates back near the main Phillip Island road. White-naped honeyeater, pardalote and red-wattlebird are seen in this first bushland area.

The eucalypt section 
The car park ('love that Impreza!)
Cape Barren Geese near the boardwalk
The woodland walk joins the road and becomes a boardwalk which is conveniently elevated in parts enabling views of the wetlands. The boardwalk takes you back to the carpark from which one can continue to the northern section of the reserve. This includes a track through ti-tree and salt marsh giving views of Rennison Bight and Churchill Island. White-browed scrubwren, superb fairy wren and flame robin have been seen here.

This part of the reserve has been enhanced with information signs with cultural information and a meeting area.

Bird Hide
There is also a bird hide however due to it's distant location and vegetation growth since it's construction useful viewing of birds is limited!

'love that bike!

Seasonal conditions
Large sections of the wetlands are dry in drought.

Although the Churchill Island road is closed to cars outside of business hours, there is free access to walkers and cyclists at all hours to Fishers Wetland (it is a 400m walk to the wetlands from the gate).

WESBOC outing
The Westernport section of BOCA is having an outing at Fishers on 27 April 2012 (details here)

Support from shooters?
A brochure titled Secure Australia's Wetlands lists Fishers as a wetland that has
benefited from major "on ground" conservation works initiated by FGA and Game hunters
It goes on to say:
Field and Game Australia Inc (FGA) was established in 1958 by hunters who were concerned about the loss of habitat and species of birds they loved to observe and hunt. Today FGA is one of Australia’s leading volunteer organisations in Wetland Conservation, Ethical Hunting and Competition Target Shooting.
Hmmmm....I don't know quite what to make of that!

Fishers wetland looking south from the car park
Currently a birding "hive" of activity.
The buildings of the Woolamai estate are in the background
as well as a limp windsock from the airfield.

Australian spotted crake - a lifer for me on 31/12/2011
Three birds were seen yesterday when this photo
was taken (the tail of a second bird lurks top right).

Pelican & black-winged stilt

Teal, hardheads, coot.
Australasian shovelers
Great egret - frequently seen at Fishers

Royal spoonbill - seen often but not always in the
current numbers (up to 5-6)

Do all Australian shelduck have the white neck ring?
(Also below) 

Birdlist available at Eremaea all time list for Fishers Wetland.

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