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The Wetlands: A Bird Watcher's Paradise

Updated on August 11, 2016
Jodah profile image

John has been writing poetry since his school days. He was awarded "Poet of the Year 2014" Hubby Awards and has had two poems become songs.

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

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    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 2 years 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
      Author

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 2 years 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
      Author

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 2 years 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
      Author

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 2 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      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
      Author

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 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
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 3 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
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 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
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

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

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 3 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
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • DealForALiving profile image

      Sam Deal 3 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
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 3 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
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 3 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
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

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

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

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

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 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
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 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
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

    • annmackiemiller profile image

      annmackiemiller 3 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      Just beautiful!

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

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

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 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.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks Eric, it is :)

    • Eric Flynn profile image

      Eric Wayne Flynn 3 years ago from Providence, Rhode Island

      Sounds like a wonderful place.

      EWF

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 3 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
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      TIMETRAVELER2 3 years ago

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

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 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

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 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! ^+

    • carrie Lee Night profile image

      Kept private 3 years ago from Northeast United States

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

    • Jodah profile image
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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks Bentsen, glad you liked the photos.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you Will, much appreciated.

    • bensen32 profile image

      Thomas Bensen 3 years ago from Round Lake Park

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

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 3 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! ;-)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 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.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 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.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 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.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

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

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 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.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 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.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • chef-de-jour profile image

      Andrew Spacey 3 years ago from Near Huddersfield, 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
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 3 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
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 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.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 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?