Saturday Evening Post #151 :The Heathdale Glen Orden Wetlands

I’ve had a few enquires regarding the Latham’s Snipe photos, I’ve been sharing of late on Flickr and elsewhere.

And as I thought, you dear reader, needed a bit of  break from some of the stream of consciousness posts of the past few weeks, I’m going to break with Tradition for the Saturday Evening Post and put up several shots for an insight into the summer-over home for these wonderful creatures that fly all the way from Japan to take up residence in a small wetlands surrounded by suburbia and not 500 metres from a major shopping complex: The Werribee Plaza.

Heathdale Glen Orden is about 35 hectares of parkland and water retaining basin, situated in a saucerlike depression in the middle of a number of housing complexes.

There is a main feeder drain that brings water from several kilometres away from the run off of roadways and parklands, and is fed into the water-retaining area from a smaller feeder drain.  The drain is full of reeds and cumbungi and the like and the runs for several hundred metres before the water enters the lake area proper.  During that time the clever plants filter out the majority of large rubbish and begin the process of clearing the water of sediment and other detritus
The water that flows into the lake area is already quite well filtered and the large open areas of water further act to remove impurities.

The water area is quite shallow, and on a good rain it quickly fills and flows out well beyond the fenced off areas. However that very fact makes it ideal for the visiting Snipe as it produces small areas of damp mud, small dry areas for roosting and pools of water that keep a steady food supply available.

The past couple of days, we’ve had some decent rain, around 35-40mm. Perhaps even more in some areas.  This has enabled the feeder drain to pickup quite a volume of water and when I visited this morning water was extending well out over the surrounding area and footpaths around the  wetlands.  Perfect for Snipe.

The area is a favourite patch of a couple of  birding “off-siders” as my Dad was wont to say.  David Nice, from Flickr is part of the Friends of Heathdale Glen Orden and posts there , and also on Flickr. Always a good supply of info of what the area has to offer.
Dave Torr, he,  the emeritus President of the (former) Werribee Wagtails, is a local and walks the area most days. Not much misses his attention.

So here are a few shots from this morning.  I used the Nikon Z50 with its 16-50mm kit lens.  I’ve had the lens for over a year, but have rarely used it. What surprised me was the small size, it’s almost a pancake lens when folded up, and despite its lightweight feel and design is quite capable of producing very sharp, very useable results. It may not be a birding lens of any repute, but as a walkabout lightweight kit it will get a few more outings  I think.

Enjoy

Oh, I didn’t see any Snipe today, but I was running out of time on my “exercises hour”.

Across the shallow, water retaining basin.
The feeder drain that brings water from housing developments a few kilometres north. After the recent rains it has been given a new life
Toward the Eastern End. This location is usually much drier and a small feeder drain comes in at the end of the fence line.
A well formed walkway winds its way across the wetlands. But it is well overgrown and with only a few area of open water makes bird watching challenging.
Hey, Who Let the Water Out!
That’s a duck halfway down the footpath. Always the opportunist.
The western end of the lake area, normally not underwater, and a good location for spotting Snipe

9 thoughts on “Saturday Evening Post #151 :The Heathdale Glen Orden Wetlands

    1. Hi Eleanor, It’s really just a water retaining basin, but the Snipe come in good numbers, and when there is enough open water, a fair collection of the the usual suspects.
      Being so close to the housing the feral population, both animals and humans are constant problem for the birds and a clutch of Hares.

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  1. A great series of images, David. Quite some flow down the D I Drain and interesting to see some of the play equipment with wet feet again. Time for me to drive, rather than walk, up there so I have more time for a wander. Hopefully I will catch sight of a Snipe or two. Wondering if the Reed Warblers are active in the basin beside the Events Centre too.

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    1. Hi David, A few Reed Warblers, and the occasional grass bird. Also two White-faced Heron. The area is still hard to get around because of the mud up to the fence line. Hopefully we might get some good weather

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  2. You certainly did get most of the rain from the last front David, we did not see as much as that. Perhaps most of it had already fallen, as the weather report always promises the worse, which never happens. We can see that wetland birds would be very happy there after rain.

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    1. Hi Ashley, thanks for dropping by. The wetlands will dry out fairly quickly, well at the least the water will receed, and the Snipe will take delight in the mudflats that remain. Its a pretty sticky mud, so will stay damp for several weeks.

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  3. Living in the wrong side of the drain we can’t get to the actual wetlands some mornings. The resident Great Egret and “Donald” (the large white duck) seems to be absent at the moment, Plenty of noise from the Reed-warblers and Grassbirds

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  4. Living on the wrong side of the drain limits our access to the actual wetlands on some days. The resident Great Egret and “Donald” the white duck seem to be missing. Lots of noise from Reed-warblers and Grassbirds

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    1. Thanks Dave, I photographed the Egret ok the the other day, it seems to be semi resident in the small tree line at the eastern end of the water.
      Snipe seem to be a bit spread out as the drier areas are harder to find.

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