Last Monday, while staying in Wagga Wagga, my wife and I took a day-trip to the Fivebough International Ramsar listed Wetlands near the country town of Leeton, which is known for its delicious stone fruit and Leetona cannery, established by the early Italian immigrants in 1914. It was hot Summers day, and sadly not the best time to visit this wetlands, early Spring is better for seeing up to 10,000 birds at a time. Several viewing platforms are positioned around the well kept trails in the 4 km circuit. Modern toilet and picnic facilities have recently been installed.

We were also hoping to see many birds but did not see as many as expected due to the heat, and not a Brolga in site, except this pair, which were extremely tame.

Feeding the resident Brolga

These extensive wetlands cross into cattle farms where on our arrival we found Cattle Egret, Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Great Egret, Straw-necked Ibis, Magpie Geese and many other water birds congregating together among the cattle.

We were pleased to capture a couple of Magpie Geese flying off.

We were delighted to find his female Great Red Kangaroo standing with its joey in the shade of a covered seat, as the joey fed from its mother. They soon hopped away on our approach.

Probably the most interesting sighting in the wetlands for the day was this Rufous (Nankeen) Night-Heron with its juvenile. They are both standing behind the Great Egret.

I loved the colour in the beak on this Australasian Swamphen, which seemed to be collecting small twigs.

There were many small passerines in the trees that surrounded the wetlands, actively feeding on the Mistletoe hanging from the eucalypts. These included the Yellow Thornbill, Superb and Variegated Fairy-wren. The Variegated Fairy-wren male pictured below was morphing out of his breeding plumage, as was other male Superb Fairy-wrens. The male always retains its blue tail when it morphs to non breeding plumage.

We were also pleased to see a small family of Grey-crowned Babblers working the trees, making their peculiar babbling noise, which is how we detected them. This is a western bird we only see out in dry open woodlands. They soon departed when they saw us watching them.

A raptor commonly seen here, was not seen here on the day, but was sighted circling over the lake in Wagga Wagga. The Black Kite, which is actually brown, is one of the few raptors that tends to flock when circling as the video shows. Not sure what they hoping to find over the lake.

Black Kites circling

The Black Kite is one of the most common raptors sighted out west in the desert areas and also in far northern Australia, as I have previously posted years ago. Here are some close ups of this bird.

While we were in Leeton we checked out the town, and visited the Leeton Visitor Information Centre, where my books were wonderfully received and are now on sale. Kathy told us how these wetlands are attended by ornithologists and that an Australasian Bittern conference is coming up soon, as these birds are endangered and falling in numbers as their habitat declines. We did not see the Australasian or Little Bitterns while there. However a local artist has placed her sculpture in the park opposite the visitor centre to mark the importance of these birds to this wetlands. Local produce is also available in the visitor centre shop. We found the locals friendly and their bakery very spacious and well air conditioned, as we enjoyed a cool drink and snack.

You may remember me posting the Australasian Bittern sightings at Bushell’s Lagoon a couple of years ago, which was a rare treat for many local birders for a few weeks.

You may also remember on our last visit to Lake Albert in Wagga Wagga that we captured images of a Great Crested-grebe with two juveniles. These two have since grown and are now more developed and able to fend for themselves. We were pleased to find them in the same location in the lake wetlands.

We were delighted on our early morning walk around the lake wetlands to walk past this power line, and as we did all of these birds flew in and landed, as if to greet us. It was an amazing experience , as more and more birds cam, mostly adult and juvenile European Starlings, of which there are huge flocks here out west. The Red-rumped Parrot and Crested Pigeon also joined them. There appeared over 50 birds, too many to put in one photo with my birding lens.

Have a wonderful weekend and stay safe. Thankfully virus numbers are lessening here, though Western Australia continues to remain closed to the world, which is a concern to us as we are doing a trip to the top end in July. The WA Premier has already reneged on his promise to open up this month. We will be leaving on our 10th Anniversary road trip west next month, which may mean a pause in posts. I am also pleased that in addition to Leeton, I have been contacted by Forbes Visitor Center to place my books in their refurbished shop. They host the popular Forbes Swamp Wetlands, which I posted last year from our western road trip.

Remember, the most helpful gift you can give:

I have always been intrigued by God’s economy, because it runs inversely to that of the world’s. What we think in our minds will bring wealth, success and respect is opposite to what Jesus says. I have always called it God’s opposites. As a young Christian I had the quote of a famous missionary Jim Elliot, on my bedroom wall. Jim died of a spear wound from the savage Ecuadorian natives as he tried to bring them the good news about Jesus Christ. They later became Christians as his wife Elizabeth writes in his biography.

Many of Jesus sayings, for example: ‘the first will be last, and the last first.’ or ‘the proud will be humbled and the humble exalted.’ or ‘those who give up their life in sacrifice for others will receive it back in greater measure.’ or’those who store up things in this life only for themselves, in hope of prolonging their life of ease, will loose not only what they have, but what they could of had, their very life (soul).’ contrast God’s ways to our selfish ways. The Bible many times tells us that God is a generous God, who loves to give and loves to love. His economics is that the more we share, give away and giving generously of ourselves, with a thankful loving heart, the more he returns to us, not just materially, but also in spiritual joy, peace, satisfaction and fulfillment. Jesus tells in Luke 12:29-31 what the best investment strategy is in God’s economy:

“Do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.  For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.  But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”

Put into modern terms Jesus is saying: ‘Give priority in your life to what God sees as important, the love of him and those he has placed in your life. By putting the needs of others before our own selfish wants, and not waste your life chasing after things that will not last or bring true happiness and fulfillment. You can trust God to provide your every material, emotional, social and spiritual need as you spend our life for him.’


  1. What a lovely place to visit despite the heat of summer. Even so, I enjoyed your video of the kites circling and the pictures of the juvenile night heron, never saw a young one before. Good to hear the covid situation is improving somewhat and hope you get to go travelling again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sue, yes the juniour night heron was a lovely find. We are looking forward to our 10th anniversary road trip west at the beginning of next month, we were not going to brave going interstate, you just never know with these fickle Premiers 🙂
      Enjoy your weekend my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It may have not been the best season to visit, but you still sighted such lovely birds with beautiful photos! Lots of familiars for me and close to our related species. I’d so love to find parrots on our communication wires, wouldn’t that be something! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Donna,
      Yes we did see some interesting birds even if they were in small numbers, which was delightful. Many of the species are related, it is only taxonomists that separate them into subspecies, though many similar kinds were named differently because our countries were settled by different people before a global system was in place. The many species of birds in the Parrot family in Australia, have been a great draw card for birders and pet bird owners. One of the first things the early English settlers did when they inhabited our country was to export budgerigars, parrots and cockatoos back to Britain, and all over the world. Many species have become extinct, while others are in super abundance, such as the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, which can be a noisy pest. Many who grow fruit will tell you how difficult it is keeping the parrots from destroying their crops.Despite all that, they are beautiful and it is always a treat seeing them. The Rainbow Lorikeet is a bird which many of our American friends love, and it is found in large numbers here where we live, where we hear its excited chatter all through the day.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Ashley,
    Can’t begin to imagine what the encounter with the Brolga must have been like. -We currently have at least 6 adults and a juvenile in the Treatment Plant (Also a Ramsar site)

    The portrait of the Black Kite is a treat. We have not had many in the area for most of the season. I think numbers of all birds in our wetlands are down, or have found other places to work. Exception being the Australian Shelduck that comes in their thousands to moult out. They are flightless for a couple of weeks and are easy pickings for feral animals, foxes in particular. However it would hardly put a dent in the population.

    Good news indeed about the Great Crested Grebes. Always a treat to find them.

    Sounds like a great trip away for family and also the chance to have a quick looksee at some lovely country.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks David,
      How lovely to have resident Brolgas at the treatment plant, we so want to visit there one day, post Covid, what ever that looks like.
      We have noticed all year that bird numbers are generally down, and locally in the last few weeks after the cold change and much rain, many of the birds and their young have left the parks. Certainly reduced numbers in breeding waterbirds. That’s a lot of Shelduck, a bird we seldom ever see. Yes it was delightful to follow up the progress of the Grebes. Two other keen birders turned up at the lake with cameras blazing early to photograph them also, as they have been locally observing their development.
      Leeton will be our last stop on our road trip next month before Wagga. We limited it to our state to be safe, and we are determined to go despite the heat, we are so desperate to get away and encounter a lifer, something that has been kept from us in the last few years due to Covid. Enjoy your weekend and stay safe my friend.


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