Warriewood Wetlands – 7 May
Notable Sighting: Scarlet Honeyeater
As I trundled out of bed on a Sunday morning I thought to myself what am I doing? And where is my coconut water??? I was parched from the night before, celebrating a birthday til the early hours. After the Ground Parrot experience, I yearned to hone my skills and the only way to do that; practice. You see, birds can easily be call… perverse. They don’t account for night-time espresso martinis or manhattans, long nights socialising, dancing, sipping one too many shandys and devouring a cheeky Turkish pide on the walk home. Conversely they rise early, like a mid-city DINK on their way to another F45 session. Throughout the middle of the day, they are less active, almost resting, quiet and unobtrusive, much again like the mid-city DINK. As much of a slog as it was, improving my wildlife photography skill would require, well, wildlife, so up I got, much reluctantly.
Warriewood Wetlands are in Northern Beach of Sydney, approximately 30 or so km from Sydney CBD. It was slightly overcast, not ideal conditions for birding/bird photography, but it was quiet and there were a few birds about. The Swamp Mahogany (Eucaylptus robusta) was flowering and with it may cause a few visitors to show up. In the mid 90s, the renowned and grandiose Swift Parrot was a regular visitor to the Northern Beaches of Sydney, feeding on Swamp Mahogany blossom found throughout the area. Unfortunately, habitat destruction has removed the opportunity to:
see this impressive parrot on regular occasions
bring them to the Northern Beaches on regular occasion
There have been confirmed, sporadic accounts in the recent 20 years of the Swift Parrot feeding at Warriewood Wetland, but it wasn’t to be this time round for me. To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting it.
Warriewood Wetland is 26 hectares in size and is known as a sand plain wetland. It has taken a real beating over the years due to rapid development, but is extremely fortunate to even be still standing. It took an 18 year battle with developers and local council to secure the area as a regionally significant, environmentally sensitive area. Considering Sydney’s desperate land grab and exorbitant land values, this was a decent fight to win and a valuable one for both people and the immense flora and fauna on the site. One win for the good guys I say!
The wetland is home to 3 significant Endangered Ecological Communities (EEC); Swamp Schlerophyll Forest, Freshwater Wetland and Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest. Now, if it sounds like I was ranking the significance of differing EEC’s I was not, as this would be like choosing your favourite child, I was merely highlighting the significance of EEC’s. However, we all know that favourite children do exist, mums and dad just try and keep it a secret. It ain’t a secret. But I divulge.
The wetland is integral for many species and a stop off point for many other, more transient feeders. Even the highly significant Regent Honeyeater has dropped in from time to time for a bite or two in recent times!
Unfortunately, I did not encounter this iconic species, nor did I encounter a great variation in species altogether, resulting in limited photographic opportunities. The overcast weather meant the light was reasonably poor and the high canopy only endorsed this further.
Was my hungover undertaking worth my time?
I did manage to see a few birds that satisfied me, notably Scarlet Honeyeater and a Royal Spoonbill.
What made trundling around, headache ridden with a slight taste of leftover pide uncomfortably lingering under my breathe worthwhile was the question I posed to myself;
Am I entirely happy with my photos?
Can they be better?
What direction do I want to take this photography thing?
How can I maximise my photographic potential?
I think I’m going to have to get myself some new gear!