Byron Wetlands

Our planned morning excursion to Byron Wetlands was nearly aborted when we arrived at our destination to find a high security locked gate. There was one car waiting at the gate and as Allen completed his U turn he noticed another 2 cars had arrived and lined up behind it. Suddenly convinced that a group of birders was gathering he didn’t waste a moment before making an approach. His assumption was proved to be correct and we were invited to tag along with the local bird watching group. We couldn’t believe our luck!

A variety of vegetation on and in the water as well as clumps of trees along the banks between some of the ponds provides excellent habitat for a diverse range of birds.

We discovered that the Byron Wetlands are actually part of the 100 hectare Byron Integrated Water Management Reserve which has been designed not only to provide a variety of excellent habitats but also to accommodate keen bird watchers. As well as a bird hide there is a covered shelter with table and seats and there is a room where meetings or information nights can be held plus toilet facilities.

Spotted Crake

This beautiful little bird ignored our quiet presence at the edge of it’s pond and foraged happily in the open while remaining close to shelter provided by clumps of reeds and sedges. While we were enjoying the moment our pleasure was doubled by the appearance of this Baillon’s Crake which commenced foraging nearby.

Baillons Crake, the smallest Australian Crake.

Walking along a bit further we disturbed an Australasian Bittern, but there are no photos as it was only a glimpse. We continued on to the other side of this pond hoping to disturb the Bittern again and found yet another Crake. Apparently we did flush the Bittern but failed to notice it or the others in the group who were trying to alert us! We must have both been staring intently at the water’s edge!

Spotless Crake – a very secretive individual who only appeared briefly.

The fact that this facility has been designed and created to provide a natural habitat of diverse local flora to support fauna diversity was most impressive. We were informed that Jan from Byron Bird Buddies put in considerable effort to the initial design and is also involved in ongoing monitoring of bird species. Their bird list is certainly testament to a positive outcome.

We were very lucky to meet this delightful group of friendly bird watchers and have the best birding morning we’d had for quite a while.

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