Wading bird footprints in mud

Five minutes of good rain

For the first time in weeks – it seems like a couple of months – it rained here. Well, we had good rain for a whole five minutes.  After that, only fine drizzle for a few minutes at a time over an hour or so.  The forecast predicts more rainfall over the next couple of days, so we have our fingers and toes crossed that we receive some of it.

We’re on town water, we have water tanks to collect rain when it does fall,  and a large dam, so we are not going to run out of water.  However, as I watch the water level of the dam fall, the grass dry out and some less hardy trees lose their leaves, I can’t help wishing for a huge downpour to refresh everything again.

Rain over the dam
We had rain today, which was very welcome, even though it didn’t last for long.


The dam itself is diminishing on a daily basis from evaporation and seepage.  Currently we don’t water the garden with dam water.  We hand-water the front garden, the vegetable garden, the orchard, the fernery and the back yard from other water sources, and we have decided to let other plants fend for themselves.  Mostly this is native vegetation, which should be able to cope well enough under normal conditions.

Dropping water levels in the dam have created a small beach on the Eastern side.  As soon as the beach appeared, so did the Plovers.  When they are around they noisily chase away the ducks and any other bird which dare to land nearby.

Low water levels reveal a beach
This small beach has appeared on one side of the dam.
Wading bird footprints in mud
Wading birds such as the herons have left footprints in the mud.
As soon as the beach was revealed by dropping water levels, the Plovers arrived.

Other secrets are revealed by the falling water levels.  We have found two sculptures  in among the reeds that the herons love to feed around – one of a horses head, the other of two fish swimming head to tail.    Also, the yellow Iris we thought were planted in the mud at the bottom of the dam are actually planted in a terracotta pot.  Many of the reeds are now out of the water, and it is interesting to see the density of stems emerging from the still-wet mud. Those higher up the bank look at bit dustier as they have been high and dry for a lot longer.

Yellow iris.
Only a couple of months ago, the iris were submerged and appeared to be growing in the mud..
Iris in terracotta pot
Secrets of the dam are revealed by falling water levels. The yellow Iris are actually planted in a pot..

The dry conditions bring us new water birds, or larger flocks of water birds.  The White Faced Heron which was arriving solo, now has a mate.  Our family of Australian Wood Ducks have matured and we presume all 13 of them form part of the larger flocks which now arrive.  Yesterday there were 38 ducks for a short while.  The Black Kite, Australian White Ibis and the Royal Spoonbill were new to us, and probably seeking water after their regular pond dried up.  So taking all of this into account, I think we’re extremely lucky to have this large dam.  Even with dropping  levels, it is large enough to provide the wildlife with a reliable source of food and water, and large enough to hide those elusive long-necked turtles which I still haven’t seen.

Flock of Australian Wood Duck
For a brief time yesterday we had 38 Australian Wood Duck land by the dam for a quick food and water stop before continuing their journey.

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