Yesterday I gave a hand to the Bug Blitz team at the Maffra Swamp. It was another rewarding day with some ankle biters from a couple of local rural schools. The children were from preps to grade 6 and it was beaut to see how some of the older children 'mentored' the littlies.
The 5 groups rotated through activities that involved catching, identifying and photographing bugs, writing some aus poetry inspired by their location, the science of gum leaves, catching and identifying macro-invertebrates from the water and BIRDS! The emphasis was on the role, importance and bio-diversity of wetland areas.
The location was ideal for the bird bit. Standing on a slightly elevated hill the children could easily see Swamphens, Moorhens, Coots, Cormorants etc, and every now and then a Reed Warbler or a family of Blue Wrens would break cover from the reed beds. The flowering mistletoes in the nearby Black Wattles were full of New Holland Honeyeaters and Eastern Spinebills. It wasn't very hard at all to show the groups something different and tell a few stories about some of the birds.
At one point a pair of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos flew in and most of the kids had some great views of these magnificent birds. They were able to see clearly the different cheek patches and eye rings on the male and female and they got a close up view of those powerful beaks ripping open the bark to get at some grubs.
We think they went home tired and happy - I did, then I jumped on the mower scattered a large flock of Galahs as I trimmed up several fairways for the men tomorrow.