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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Lake Merreti-A wetland of significance

Little Eagle takes flight above lake Woolpoolool
Lake Merreti-A wetland of significance but under duress.
A place I have been visiting and camping at and photographing on day trips since 1966 is Lake Merreti in South Australia's riverland near the town of Renmark.
My late father in Law Dud Foweraker was instrumental in the 1960's of having the Lake  declared a sanctuary.
It is part of the wider world heritage wetlands in  that area today.

It sits on what used to be Calperum Station, a sheep station.
Having been in Renmark this past weekend visiting relatives we had a very enjoyable day on Saturday re visiting this location.For the past several years this area has been under much duress due to drought and the lake has been dry a lot of the time.In its heyday this wetland was amazing with the Birdlife and Flora and fauna.At the moment the River Murray,it's feeding river, is high  and the lake is overflowing it's shores and nearby Lake Woolpoolool is full also. An abundance of Birdlife, Kangaroos, Emus and carpets of wildflowers are giving the location a much needed ecological boost. Sadly many of the already dead majestic River Red Gums that surrounded the lake will not recover. There are still some continuing though and there is much new growth of young trees all around which augurs well if the drought does not return in  a hurry. The first night I ever camped there in  the 1960's the noise of birds on the lake was a cacophony  of sound all night including the myriads of Frog calls.

"Pig Face"

Overflow from The Hunchee Creek

Goanna in top of tree

Close up of "Pig Face"

Walking Down to the lake
The Lake is also a breeding ground for Freshwater Mussells, Yabbies and Native Fish but sadly the introduced European carp far outnumbers the native fish.
Amongst our sightings on saturday we saw Little Eagles,Cormorants,Black Fronted Dotterels, Wood Ducks,Ibis, Black Swans, Mallee Ringneck Parrots, Blue Bonnets(parrot),Emus and chicks, Kangaroos, a  Goanna(Large Monitor Lizard)who climbed a tree to avoid us.
(When a Goanna is threatend by you and you are on an open plain we are advised one should lie on the ground as a Goanna will always look for a tree to climb and may come straight for you to climb up your body.)) I have never heard anyone verify this .
Also we saw Black shouldered Kite, Galahs, Native Hens , Murray Magpies,White Egrets,White Necked Heron,Blue Crane and probably many others we take for granted.

We had a great day out with sandwiches and thermos flasks for tea and coffee.

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