Sunday, May 18, 2014

Marlay Point

A few days back, I spent yet another very pleasant day helping out with a bird survey for Greening Australia on some private property at Marlay Point near Sale. Parts of this particular block borders the Clydebank Morass and suffers a bit from salinity issues.

One of the more salt tolerant plants in the low parts is Beaded Samphire or Glasswort which was in its ‘red phase’.

This amazing plant was used in earlier times to make glass apparently. The ash formed when the plant is burnt is rich in sodium carbonate. Sodium carbonate is an important compound used in many processes including as a flux in glassmaking. These days of course it is produced synthetically in large amounts.

As we ticked various small grass and bush birds, a couple of raptors appeared. A Black-shouldered Kite hovered above a target before suddenly beginning its stoop to the ground. No doubt it gave some unsuspecting prey in the grass a heck of a fright.

My eye caught a glimpse of a dark shape on top of a distant power pole and there appeared a juvenile Brown Falcon, (I think), surveying the roadside for something edible.

After finishing the survey we ‘cuppa-ed’ at the piles, often a great spot to see some seabirds. Caspian Terns were prominent but amongst them was a nice mob of endangered Little Terns and that was a nice sight.

Didn’t take too long to get the cameras out again!


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