The Wetlands: A Bird Watcher's Paradise

Wooroolin Wetlands
Wooroolin Wetlands | Source
The Wooroolin Wetlands in 2004
The Wooroolin Wetlands in 2004 | Source
The Wooroolin Wetlands in 2014
The Wooroolin Wetlands in 2014 | Source
Baby wood ducks, Wooroolin Wetlands
Baby wood ducks, Wooroolin Wetlands
Egret in wetlands
Egret in wetlands

The Wooroolin Wetlands

Wooroolin is a small town in the South Burnett region of Queensland, Australia situated on the Bunya Highway, 243 kilometres (151 miles) north-west of the state capital Brisbane and about 30 minutes drive from my home. Wooroolin has a population of about 164.

Just to the east of the town is the Wetlands. Although classified as a palustrine wetland, a non-tidal, inland, non-arid, seasonally flooded, vegetated swamp the Wooroolin Wetlands had been basically dry since the mid-1970s. Many bird and aquatic animal species had migrated to more suitable habitats.

However, after successive floods in 2011 and 2013, the wetland burst its banks and flooded Wooroolin for the first time in recorded history. As of 2014, the wetland is still completely full and resembles a large, shallow lake. Native bird and animals such as turtles have returned to the area which seems to have a permanent water supply once again, despite most of the state being declared drought affected.

Some of the abundant birdlife you can now see in the area are parrots including crimson wings, galahs, black cockatoos, as well as kookaburras, blue wrens, willy wagtails, and of course native waterbirds like egrets, Australian wood ducks, water hens, and occasionally swans.

Bird Hide Sign, Wooroolin Wetlands
Bird Hide Sign, Wooroolin Wetlands
Blue Wren
Blue Wren | Source
Bush stone-curlew
Bush stone-curlew | Source
Wetland surrounds
Wetland surrounds | Source

Wetlands Tranquility

by John Hansen © 2014

Sitting at the wetlands

Laid back, my eyes are closed.

Listening to bird song

To sweet sounds I'm exposed.


There's traffic in the distance

But I easily block it out,

For this piece of tranquility

An oasis in the drought.


A habitat for many birds,

I know but just a few.

Ducks, egrets, and pink galahs,

Wrens, wagtails, and curlews.


A shallow lake that's spiked with poles

Of dead and dying trees,

But a haven for God's creatures,

As nature's meant to be.


I pray that man preserves this scene

For a hundred years or more,

So generations yet to come

Can see what my eyes saw.




Wooroolin Wetlands
Wooroolin Wetlands | Source

"Wetlands are everywhere in Australia, from the
man-made ponds of your suburb, and the rivers
in central Australia that only see water every
few years. We often pass them unnoticed and
without a thought to the important jobs they
perform each day.

The term ‘wetlands’ encompasses a vast
range of water based areas including swamps,
marshes, billabongs, lakes, salt marshes,
peatlands.

Wetlands are an important part of the Australian
breeding sites for hundreds of Australian animals
and recreational centres for many communities.
They protect our shores from wave action,
and improve water quality. They provide habitat
for animals and plants and many contain a wide
diversity of life, supporting plants and animals
that are found nowhere else in the world."

(source: Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population, and Communities: http://www.environment.gov.au/)

Ducks, Edithvale Wetlands
Ducks, Edithvale Wetlands
The Grand Hotel, Wooroolin
The Grand Hotel, Wooroolin | Source

Access to Wooroolin Wetlands

A road runs all around the entire wetlands area. It begins at the carpark of the Wooroolin Hotel and continues past the Showground/sports field, then around in a circle before rejoining the main highway just south of the town.

I walked this road recently and it is very quiet. It took me about an hour to complete the walk and I never encountered even one vehicle. More accessible walking tracks need to be added by the local council because until you reach the showgrounds, about two kilometres along the road, you can't get close enough to the water to fully appreciate the bird life. Cutting across the sports field you can access a plaque providing information about the wetlands and an overgrown, but accessible track leading to the water.

From here you can see a "bird hide" which is a small wooden structure that you can actually hid in to view and photograph the birds and wildlife. The only problem here is that the water level is now much higher than it was when the bird hide was constructed and so now about 20 metres of water separate it from the bank. Keen bird watchers can wade across I'm sure but I didn't attempt this as I wasn't dressed for the occasion and I doubt skinny dipping would be welcome (though I never encountered another soul).

I did spend some relaxing time here observing a variety of birds (mostly ducks and other water fowl) and listening to the wonderful sounds of nature, before resuming my walk along the rest of the road. Before leaving I noted how this area could be so easily improved if more of the underbrush was cleared away from the pathways and a seat or two built to create a wonderful rest area.

The remainder of the road began to run closer to the wetland area and provided better views with a few cleared areas that a car could pull over and park close to the water. It was a pleasant and peaceful walk and I am sure that in the coming years the local council will devote more time and money to beautify the surroundings and improve access. If this is done it will become one of the major tourists attractions in the area. I guess this could have both positives and negatives, especially for the wildlife.

Various scenes from the Wooroolin Wetlands
Various scenes from the Wooroolin Wetlands | Source

© 2014 John Hansen

More by this Author


Comments 76 comments

bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida

John, it is so refreshing to see a habitat restored rather than destroyed. What a beautiful area! Do you go there often to listen to the songs of Nature?


always exploring profile image

always exploring 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

The video brought a calmness that's indescribable, just beautiful! The flowers growing in the mud is amazing. I also loved your poetry. Thank you.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Shauna, it is wonderful that these wetlands have been restored due to two years of floods and the wildlife returned. I had only been there once before but now my wife is attending CWA meetings at Wooroolin every month I will go to the wetlands while I wait for her. It is a wonderful place to spend quiet time.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Ruby, I am glad you enjoyed that beautiful video, and my poetry of course :) . Thank you.


Paula Atwell profile image

Paula Atwell 2 years ago from Cleveland, OH

Really enjoyed this. I don't know much about Australia and didn't know you had wetlands.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

HeyPaula ..that's a song... :)

Thanks for reading and glad you enjoyed this. Yes, in Australia we have quite a diverse ecosystem, and just about everything you can imagine somewhere in the country.


chef-de-jour profile image

chef-de-jour 2 years ago from Wakefield, West Yorkshire,UK

Love the wetlands, so many different birds and creatures making a living from the water. Good to hear your neck of the woods has what is hopefully a permanent feature, shallow lakes and ponds and miles of reeds.

Thank you for the poem too. Have you read any of John Clare's poetry? English chap lived in the 19th century - he wrote some beautiful nature poems. You should check him out.

Take care.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading and your kind comment chef. I hope it is permanent now and appears to be so. Oh and thanks for the info on John Clare too. I haven't heard of him as far as I know, but will check him out.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Now if we can just find a way to prevent developers from ruining the wetlands....I suspect that battle will continue for some time. Thanks for raising awareness my friend. Articles like this one are very important.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Excellent piece, I just love hiking and walking through our coastal estuaries. Thanks for the great pics.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Bill, thankfully this is an area that is rural enough to have so far escaped major development. I really hope it stays that way as it is becoming one of my favourite spots.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Eric, I intend to spend more time hiking all around these wetlands. I had only driven past before, but you miss most of the wildlife that way and can't get close enough. So from now on it's by foot. Thanks for the kind comment.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Beautiful, beautiful Hub, and so well written! Voted up.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Nature is certainly beautiful and Australia seems to have more than its fair share. Like you, I hope the wetlands will be protected for generations to come. Another great job of raising awareness.


sallybea profile image

sallybea 2 years ago from Norfolk

Oh that little wren took me right back to Tasmania. Lovely hub, I just love nature and everything in it. Australia is so beautiful, I can't wait to go back there sometime. Thanks for sharing.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

Florida has laws preventing the complete takeover of the everglades, which is similar to the wetlands. I also pray that we will continue to see the beauty of creation as it is -- without human interference.


DrBillSmithWriter profile image

DrBillSmithWriter 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

John, thank you so much for sharing this. I can no longer visit such places, so having the beautiful images and great narrative is very special! ;-) I love places like this! ;-)


bensen32 profile image

bensen32 2 years ago from Round Lake Park

Nature at it's best, some really nice shots there.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Will, much appreciated.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Jo, I seem to be on my soapbox lately about protecting the environment :)

Yes Australia does have some beautiful nature. You should visit one day.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

I saw my first little blue wren yesterday at the wetlands Sally, it was flying around among the grasses and trees in front of me. It seemed more curious than me. I hope you return one day. Thanks for reading.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Yes Dianna, every state and country needs to install similar laws to protect these special places. We need to lesson human interference everywhere.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

It's a shame that you can no longer visit these type of places Dr Bill, but I'm glad this hub has helped you a little way to experiencing the atmosphere. Thanks.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Bentsen, glad you liked the photos.


carrie Lee Night profile image

carrie Lee Night 2 years ago from Northeast United States

Voted awesome and beautiful :). Thank you for sharing the nature 30 minutes from your doorstep .


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

Beautiful poetry as always John; and birds are such a delight to watch. Afraid anything I photograph has to be very still for a very long time so I don't have many bird pictures. As soon as I am ready they fly away! Glad you have a steady hand! ^+


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Thank you for sharing about the wetlands, so important! Your poetry is beautiful as always. I love listening to the sweet song birds' songs. It is a blessing to hear them and always reminds me of my precious mother, who so loved the song birds' songs too.

Up +++ tweeting and pinning

Blessings always


TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

TIMETRAVELER2 2 years ago

Loved the photos on this one. Just looking at them made me feel at peace. Thanks for this one.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Carrie, living in a rural area we have abundant nature all sound us (kangaroos and wallabies in our front yard), but the wetlands are special. Thanks for the vote up and share.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Jackie, the birds here seem general unperturbed by humans, though some flew away before I could get close enough to photograph.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hello Faith, there is nothing more beautiful and soothing then the sound of birds singing. It's a wonderful thing to remind you of your mother. Thanks for the vote up, tweet,and pin.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks timetraveller2, I am glad that these photos presented a peaceful ambience. The wetland really has that effect.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

Jodah, your Wetlands Tranquility poem is lovely and does indeed impart tranquility as you paint the scene with words. You have a lot of great information on wetlands and the video is peaceful and perfect. I love watching birds - I so miss the wetlands in the Pacific Northwest where I grew up, so I really enjoyed this hub. Your message of preserving such wonderful places is great and so needed for Earth. Thank you for writing this hub. Up, across, and H+


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Phyllis, so glad it ticked all the boxes...I wanted the poem to live up to its title. I thought the video would help set the mood too. I bet there were beautiful wetlands in the Pacific northwest too. Voted ups are much appreciated.


Eric Flynn profile image

Eric Flynn 2 years ago from Providence, Rhode Island

Sounds like a wonderful place.

EWF


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Eric, it is :)


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

Your writing is getting better and better. This sounds and looks like a heavenly place to be with nature. Voted up and more.


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Bird watching isn't that amazing? Lovely photos and always a well-thought of hub from you. Voted p!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi DDE, Yes bird watching is a wonderfully relaxing pastime. Thanks for your kind comments.


annmackiemiller profile image

annmackiemiller 2 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

Just beautiful!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you annmackiemiller, I do appreciate you reading this and that great short but great comment.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York

Again Jodah, you've made a good subject better. It is wonderful that the Wetlands have been restored, not just for their own natural beauty but for the lives it sustains. The birds are beautiful.

Of course, your poem is so touching and a propos!

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for reading another of my hubs tillsontitan, I am glad you are enjoying them and appreciate your kind encouragement. I particularly enjoyed writing this and spending time at the wetlands to do get the inspiration.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean

"An oasis in the drought"--my favorite line in the poem. Makes me long for an experience like you describe. Thanks for the information and the sights of the Australian wetlands.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you MsDors, for your kind words as always. Im glad you liked that line, and maybe one day you can experienced the calm and relaxation of the wetlands. I'm sure there are many beautiful quiet places in the Caribbean too.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

everything was so right about this nature's hub..the video, the poem and the information was so right... :)


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Thanks for sharing this enjoyable look at the wetlands and for pointing out their importance, Jodah.


Vellur profile image

Vellur 2 years ago from Dubai

Beautifully expressed poem about the wetlands and I hope our future generations get to see this wonderful view. Great poem.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Frank, glad you enjoyed this hub. Have a great day.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Yes Alicia, the wetlands are a place a lot of people don't give much thought to...they just see swampy ground and dead tres....not the birds and animals they provide habitat to. Thanks for reading.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

I hope so too Vellur. They are important to the ecosystem. Thanks for reading.


Suzanne Day profile image

Suzanne Day 2 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Hi Jodah, what a lovely relaxing poem to read before I head off to the gym! The serenity! The tranquility! However, I do have to ask if you've ever considered getting a musician involved and making your poems into songs? I imagine they would be quite beautiful as songs, and on that note (haha), voted beautiful and up!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hmmm....food for thought Suzanne. Nope, never thought of it until now really. Although someone once told me they thought one of my poems would make a good song. Can't even remember which one now. Thanks for the kind comment and suggestion, and vote up too. Have fun at the gym.


CrisSp profile image

CrisSp 2 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

What a refreshing sight! Pity, we don't fly in Australia. So, thank you for taking us there with you.

Beautiful, up and sharing and please say hello to our lovely friends in the sky next time you visit them.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for visiting Cris, ope you can fly by this way one day, but until then I will say high to our friends in the sky for you. Thanks for the vote up and share too.


DealForALiving profile image

DealForALiving 2 years ago from Earth

I really need to go on a birdwatching trip and see some of these beautiful birds you've captured in these photos.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you DealForLiving, it is well worth it. Just passing by you see very little but when you stop and watch the abundance of bird life surprises you. A great relaxing time.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

Jodah, this is a wee bit off topic, but still related to your poem in this hub:

A hearty and huge CONGRATULATIONS for the 2014 "Best Poet" hubbie award. It is well deserved and I am so happy for you.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Phyllis, I never even knew until I read comments on my hubs. I haven't been on the Internet all day until now. Thanks for your support.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean

I'm proud to say that I voted for you, Best Poet. Hearty Congratulations!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks so much MsDora. I appreciate your support. Congratulations to you too. I voted for you but not in the category you won :)


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

Congratulations for your Hubbie award and this refreshing hub!

Loved the pictures and thanks for spreading the awareness. Voted up!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Chitrangada, it is much appreciated. I value your kind words and vote up to.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

I have felt that exact feeling of tranquility you have talked about while on an early morning outing to a local wetland. I christened one spot in particular "Nirvana Point" because of the tranquility I felt listening to the ocean and watching the Avocets, The Sandpipers and the ducks forage. Let us hope the human race can work together to preserve these wonderful places. Australia in particular has some beautiful avian life. On my first visit in 1987 I did see the Galahs because they were so abundant, but wasn't really watching for anything else. I hope to get back soon and see what I missed the first time around. Wonderful hub, and congratulations on your poetry award.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Mel. I am glad you can relate to the importance and wonder of the wetlands. Hope you get back to Australia soon, and I appreciate the congratulations too.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Mel. I am glad you can relate to the importance and wonder of the wetlands. Hope you get back to Australia soon, and I appreciate the congratulations too.


Snakesmum profile image

Snakesmum 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

Although we don't have any wetlands like that near our home, I enjoyed your hub, and the video. We have two tiny ponds in our front garden, and the birds, especially the ravens, seem to enjoy bathing in them. I guess the ponds are my wetlands! :-)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Snakesmum, yes sounds like those ponds will suffice as your wetlands. Thanks for reading, glad you enjoyed.


Marie Flint profile image

Marie Flint 20 months ago from Jacksonville, FL

Very nice. I love the outdoors. The video with the baby birds is delightful.

Your poem is well thought and very appropriate. I enjoy your pleasant rhyme schemes.

I'm just beginning to learn some of the birds around me in Florida. The wildlife is different here than in Michigan, and the ducks by the runoff (a kind of man-made pond, of which there are several around the development) will take bread from my hand.

Voted Awesome and Beautiful.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 20 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for reading this Marie and for your kind comment. Bird and animal life is slightly different everywhere and it takes awhile to get to know them all, especially our avian friends. It's great the ducks are tame enough to hand feed. We have a bird feeder hanging outside our bedroom window and we can watch the King Parrots, Redwings, and finches as they come to feed. It is nature at its best. I never want to cage a bird.


mary615 profile image

mary615 14 months ago from Florida

I just wrote a comment on this Hub about our having wetlands here in Florida, but I hit the wrong button on the keyboard! I hate it when that happens!

Developers with deep pockets come to our area and try to build on our wetlands, but they are protected by law.

Voted this one up, etc. and shared.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 14 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Mary, glad your wetlands are protected. Ours used to be a rubbish tip apparently until one year it flooded and has been a wetlands ever since except during one period of severe drought.


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 14 months ago from New Delhi, India

Came back to read your beautiful hub once again.

Wonderful hub with beautiful pictures! Your poem is always refreshing.

Thanks!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 14 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for rereading this hub Chitrangada. I had added some extra text to try and get it featured again.


Snakesmum profile image

Snakesmum 14 months ago from Victoria, Australia

Just revisited this hub, and enjoyed it just as much as the first time. We really do need to protect places like this.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 14 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you very mush snakesmum. I appreciating you having a second read of this. We do need to protect these places.

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